Advertisement

Separate tree-ring reconstructions of spring and summer moisture in the northern and southern Great Plains

  • Ian M. Howard
  • David W. Stahle
  • Song Feng
Article

Abstract

The two most severe droughts to impact the Great Plains in the twentieth century, the 1930s Dust Bowl and 1950s Drought, were the result of multiyear moisture deficits during the spring and especially the summer season. Tree-ring reconstructions of the Palmer Drought Severity Index indicate similar droughts in magnitude have occurred in previous centuries, but these reconstructions do not capture the potential distinct seasonal drought characteristics like those of the 1930s and 1950s. Separate tree-ring reconstructions of the spring and summer Z-index based on earlywood, latewood, and adjusted latewood width chronologies have been developed for two regions in the northern and southern Great Plains of the US. The reconstructions extend from 1651 to 1990 and 1698–1990, respectively, with instrumental data added from 1991 to 2017. The four reconstructions explain from 39 to 56% of the variance during the 1945–1990 calibration interval and are significantly correlated with independent moisture balance observations during the 1900–1944 validation period. The reconstructions reproduce similar seasonal sea-surface temperature and 500 mb geopotential height spatial correlation patterns detected with the instrumental data. The 1930s is estimated to have been the most extreme decadal summer drought to impact the two regions concurrently in the last few centuries. On average, spring moisture deficits were more severe during the multidecadal droughts of the mid- to late-nineteenth century, but the timing of drought onset and termination differed between the study regions. In the recent two decades the spring moisture balances for the two study regions have largely been opposite, and this has been one of the most extreme periods of anti-phasing in the last few centuries. Seasonal moisture reversals are not randomly distributed in time based on the reconstructed estimates and are related to sea-surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific and to mid-tropospheric circulation changes over the North Pacific–North American sector during May and June.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Connie Woodhouse and David Meko for use of their tree-ring collections from the Great Plains, and Chris Baisan, Peter Brown, Cary Mock, and Dorian Burnette for advice and assistance. This study was funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant #AGS-1266014).

Supplementary material

382_2018_4485_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3249 KB)

References

  1. Akaike H (1974) A new look at statistical model identification. IEEE Trans Autom Control 19:716–723.  https://doi.org/10.1109/TAC.1974.1100705 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barandiaran D, Wang SY, Hilburn K (2013) Observed trends in the Great Plains low-level jet and associated precipitation changes in relation to recent droughts. Geophys Res Lett 40:6247–6251.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2013GL058296 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bunkers MJ, Miller JR, DeGaetano AT (1996) An examination of El Niño-La Niña-related precipitation and temperature anomalies across the northern plains. J Clim 9:147–160.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009%3C0147:AEOENN%3E2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burnette DJ, Stahle DW (2010) Program DendroTools. Tree Ring Lab, University of Arkansas, FayettevilleGoogle Scholar
  5. Burnette DJ, Stahle DW (2013) Historical perspective on the dust bowl drought in the central United States. Clim Change 116:479–494.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0525-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burns JN, Acuna-Soto R, Stahle DW (2014) Drought and epidemic typhus, central Mexico, 1655–1918. Emerg Infect Dis 20:442–447.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2003.131366 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cleaveland MK, Duvick DN (1992) Iowa climate reconstructed from tree rings, 1640–1982. Water Resour Res 28:2607–2615.  https://doi.org/10.1029/92WR01562 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cleaveland MK, Stahle DW (1989) Tree ring analysis of surplus and deficit runoff in the White River, Arkansas. Water Resour Res 25:1391–1401.  https://doi.org/10.1029/WR025i006p01391 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cleaveland MK, Stahle DW, Therrell MD et al (2003) Tree-ring reconstructed winter precipitation and tropical teleconnections in Durango. Mexico Clim Change 59:369–388.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024835630188 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cole JE, Overpeck JT, Cook ER (2002) Multiyear La Nina events and persistent drought in the contiguous United States. Geophys Res Lett.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2001GL013561 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Compo GP, Whitaker JS, Sardeshmukh PD et al (2011) The twentieth century reanalysis project. Q J R Meteorol Soc 137:1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Conover W (1980) Practical nonparametric statistics. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Cook ER (1985) A time series analysis approach to tree ring standardization. Dissertation, University of Arizona, p 171Google Scholar
  14. Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (1990) Methods of dendrochronology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, BostonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cook ER, Peters K (1981) The smoothing spline: a new approach to standardizing forest interior tree-ring width series for dendroclimatic studies. Tree-Ring Bull 41:45–53Google Scholar
  16. Cook ER, Meko DM, Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK (1999) Drought reconstructions for the continental United States. J Clim 12:1145–1163.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cook ER, Seager R, Cane MA, Stahle DW (2007) North American drought: reconstructions, causes, and consequences. Earth Sci Rev 81:93–134.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2006.12.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cook BI, Miller RL, Seager R (2009) Amplification of the North American “Dust Bowl” drought through human-induced land degradation. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106:4997–5001.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0810200106 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cook ER, Krusic PJ, Melvin TM (2014) Program RCSigFree. Tree ring Lab, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, PalisadesGoogle Scholar
  20. Crawford CJ, Griffin D, Kipfmueller KF (2015) Capturing season-specific precipitation signals in the northern Rocky Mountains, USA, using earlywood and latewood tree rings. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 120:428–440.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JG002740 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dai A (2001) Global precipitation and thunderstorm frequencies. Part II: Diurnal variations. J Clim 14:1112–1128.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Daly C, Neilson RP, Phillips DL (1994) A statistical-topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain. J Appl Meteorol 33:140–158.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0450 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dannenberg MP, Wise EK (2016) Seasonal climate signals from multiple tree ring metrics: a case study of Pinus ponderosa in the upper Columbia River Basin. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 121:1178–1189.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JG003155 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Donat MG, King AD, Overpeck JT et al (2016) Extraordinary heat during the 1930s US Dust Bowl and associated large-scale conditions. Clim Dyn 46:413–426.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-015-2590-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Draper NR, Smith H (1981) Applied regression analysis. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Ebisuzaki W (1997) A method to estimate the statistical significance of a correlation when the data are serially correlated. J Clim 10:2147–2153.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010%3C2147:AMTETS%3E2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Enfield DB, Mestas-Nuñez AM, Trimble PJ (2001) The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its relation to rainfall and river flows in the continental US. Geophys Res Lett 28:2077–2080.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2000GL012745 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Faulstich HL, Woodhouse CA, Griffin D (2013) Reconstructed cool- and warm-season precipitation over the tribal lands of northeastern Arizona. Clim Change 118:457–468.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0626-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Feng S, Trnka M, Hayes M, Zhang Y (2017) Why do different drought indices show distinct future drought risk outcomes in the US Great Plains? J Clim 30:265–278.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0590.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fritsch JM, Kane RJ, Chelius CR (1986) The contribution of mesoscale convective weather systems to the warm-season precipitation in the United States. J Clim Appl Meteorol 25:1333–1345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fritts HC (1965) Tree ring evidences for climatic changes in western North America. Mon Weather Rev 93:421–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fritts HC (1976) Tree rings and climate. Blackburn Press, ClarendanGoogle Scholar
  33. Griffin D, Meko DM, Touchan R et al (2011) Latewood chronology development for summer-moisture reconstruction in the US southwest. Tree Ring Res 67:87–101.  https://doi.org/10.3959/2011-4.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Griffin D, Woodhouse CA, Meko DM et al (2013) North American monsoon precipitation reconstructed from tree-ring latewood. Geophys Res Lett 40:954–958.  https://doi.org/10.1002/grl.50184 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Harding KJ, Snyder PK (2015) The relationship between the Pacific-North American teleconnection pattern, the Great Plains low-level jet, and north central US heavy rainfall events. J Clim 28:6729–6742.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00657.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Herweijer C, Seager R, Cook ER (2006) North American droughts of the mid to late nineteenth century: a history, simulation and implication for Mediaeval drought. Holocene 16:159–171.  https://doi.org/10.1191/0959683606hl917rp CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Higgins RW, Yao Y, Yarosh ES, et al (1997) Influence of the Great Plains low-level jet on summertime precipitation and moisture transport over the central United States. J Clim 10:481–507.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010%3C0481:IOTGPL%3E2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hirschboeck K (1991) Climate and floods: national water summary, 1988–1989—floods and droughts: hydrologic perspective on water issues. US Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2375, pp 67–88Google Scholar
  39. Hoaglin DC, Mosteller F, Tukey JW (2000) Understanding robust and exploratory data analysis. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Hoerling M, Quan XW, Eischeidi J (2009) Distinct causes for two principal US droughts of the 20th century. Geophys Res Lett.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL039860 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hoerling M, Kumar A, Dole R, Nielsen-Gammon JW, Eischeid J, Perlwitz J, Quan XW, Zhang T, Pegion P, Chen M (2013) Anatomy of an extreme event. J Clim 26(9):2811–2832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hoerling M, Eischeid J, Kumar A et al (2014) Causes and predictability of the 2012 Great Plains drought. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 95:269–282.  https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00055.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Horel JD, Wallace JM (1981) Planetary-scale phenomena associated with the Southern Oscillation. Mon Weather Rev 109:813–829.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493(1981)109%3C0813:PSAPAW%3E2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hu Q, Feng S (2010) Influence of the Arctic oscillation on central United States summer rainfall. J Geophys Res 115:13.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2009jd011805 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jolliffe IT (2002) Principal component analysis, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  46. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:437–471.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kaplan A, Cane MA, Kushnir Y et al (1998) Analyses of global sea surface temperature 1856–1991. J Geophys Res 103589:567–618.  https://doi.org/10.1029/97JC01736 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Karl TR (1986) The sensitivity of the palmer drought severity index and palmer’s Z-index to their calibration coefficients including potential evapotranspiration. J Clim Appl Meteorol 25:77–86.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0450 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Karl TR, Quayle RG, Karl TR, Quayle RG (1981) The 1980 summer heat wave and drought in historical perspective. Mon Weather Rev 109:2055–2073.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Karl T, Quinlan F, Ezell DS (1987) Drought termination and amelioration: its climatological probability. J Clim Appl Meteorol 26:1198–1209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Krishnamurthy L, Vecchi GA, Msadek R et al (2015) The seasonality of the Great Plains low-level Jet and ENSO relationship. J Clim 28:4525–4544.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00590.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Leathers DJ, Palecki MA (1992) The Pacific North-American teleconnection pattern and United-States climate. 29 temporal characteristics and index specification. J Clim 5:707–716.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1992)005%3C0707:Tpatpa%3E2.0.Co;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Little EL (1971) Atlas of the United States trees, Volume 1, Conifers and important hardwoods. US Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous publicationsGoogle Scholar
  54. Mantua NJ, Hare SR (2002) The Pacific decadal oscillation. J Oceanogr 58:35–44.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015820616384 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Meko DM, Baisan CH (2001) Pilot study of latewood-width of conifers as an indicator of variability of summer rainfall in the North American monsoonregion. Int J Climatol 21:697–708.  https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.646 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Melvin TM, Briffa KR (2008) A “signal-free” approach to dendroclimatic standardisation. Dendrochronologia 26:71–86.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dendro.2007.12.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mo KC, Lettenmaier DP (2016) Precipitation deficit flash droughts over the United States. J Hydrometeorol 17:1169–1184.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JHM-D-15-0158.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Mock CJ (1991) Drought and precipitation fluctuations in the Great Plains during the late nineteenth century. Gt Plains Res 1:26–57Google Scholar
  59. Mock CJ (1996) Climatic controls and spatial variations of precipitation in the western United States. J Clim 9:1111–1124.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Muhs DR, Holliday VT (1995) Evidence of active dune sand on the Great Plains in the 19th century from accounts of early explorers. Quat Res 43:198–208.  https://doi.org/10.1006/qres.1995.1020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Namias J (1982) Anatomy of Great Plains protracted heat waves (especially the 1980 US summer drought). Mon Weather Rev 110:824–838.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Palmer WC (1965) Meteorological Drought. US Weather Bureau. Res Pap No 45, 58Google Scholar
  63. Percival DB, Constantine WLB (2006) Exact simulation of Gaussian time series from nonparametric spectral estimates with application to bootstrapping. Stat Comput 16:25–35.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11222-006-5198-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ropelewski CF, Halpert MS (1987) Global and regional scale precipitation patterns associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Mon Weather Rev 115:1606–1626.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0493(1987)115%3C1606:GARSPP%3E2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ruiz-Barradas A, Nigam S (2005) Warm season rainfall variability over the US Great Plains in observations, NCEP and ERA-40 reanalyses, and NCAR and NASA atmospheric model simulations. J Clim 18:1808–1830.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI3343.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sauchyn DJ, Skinner WR (2001) A proxy record of drought severity for the Southwestern Canadian Plains. Can Water Resour J 26:253–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Schulman E (1942) Dendrochronology in pines of Arkansas. Ecology 23:309–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Seager R, Kushnir Y, Herweijer C et al (2005) Modeling of tropical forcing of persistent droughts and pluvials over western North America: 1856–2000. J Clim 18:4065–4088.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI3522.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sieg CH, Meko D, Ni W (1996) Dendroclimatic potential in the northern Great Plains. In: Dean JS, Meko DM, Swetnam TW (eds) Tree rings, environment and humanity. Radiocarbon (International radiocarbon conference). University of Arizona, Tucson, pp 295–302Google Scholar
  70. St. George S, Meko DM, Girardin MP et al (2009) The tree-ring record of drought on the Canadian Prairies. J Clim 22:689–710.  https://doi.org/10.1175/2008JCLI2441.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK (1988) Texas drought history reconstructed and analyzed from 1698 to 1980. J Clim 1:59–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK, Grissino-Mayer HD et al (2009) Cool- and warm-season precipitation reconstructions over western New Mexico. J Clim 22:3729–3750.  https://doi.org/10.1175/2008JCLI2752.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Stockton D, Meko D (1983) Drought recurrence in the Great Plains as reconstructed from long-term tree ring records. J Clim Appl Meteorol 22:17–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Stokes MA, Smiley TL (1996) An introduction to tree-ring dating. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZGoogle Scholar
  75. Therrell MD, Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK, Villanueva-Diaz J (2002) Warm season tree growth and precipitation over Mexico. J Geophys Res Atmos.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2001JD000851 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Torbenson MCA, Stahle DW (2018) The relationship between cool and warm season moisture over the central United States, 1685–2015. J Clim.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0593.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Villanueva-Diaz J, Stahle DW, Luckman BH et al (2007) Winter–spring precipitation reconstructions from tree rings for northeast Mexico. Clim Change 83:117–131.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-006-9144-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wang SY, Chen TC (2009) The late-spring maximum of rainfall over the US central plains and the role of the low-level jet. J Clim 22:4696–4709.  https://doi.org/10.1175/2009JCLI2719.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wang SY, Davies RE, Gillies RR (2013) Identification of extreme precipitation threat across midlatitude regions based on short-wave circulations. J Geophys Res Atmos 118:11059–11074.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jgrd.50841 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Watson E, Luckman BH (2002) The dendroclimatic signal in Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine tree-ring chronologies from the southern Canadian Cordillera. Can J For Res 32:1858–1874.  https://doi.org/10.1139/x02-096 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Watson E, Luckman BH (2004) Tree-ring based reconstructions of precipitation for the southern Canadian Cordillera. Clim Change 65:209–241.  https://doi.org/10.1023/B:CLIM.0000037487.83308.02 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Weaver SJ, Nigam S (2008) Variability of the Great Plains low-level jet: large-scale circulation context and hydroclimate impacts. J Clim 21:1532–1551.  https://doi.org/10.1175/2007JCLI1586.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Weaver SJ, Nigam S (2011) Recurrent supersynoptic evolution of the Great Plains low-level Jet. J Clim 24:575–582.  https://doi.org/10.1175/2010JCLI3445.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wells PV, Kilham L, Moloney JB (1965) Scarp woodlands, transported grassland soils, and concept of grassland climate in the Great Plains Region. Science 148:246–249.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.148.3667.246 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Woodhouse C, Brown PM (2001) Tree-ring evidence for Great Plains drought. Tree Ring Res 57:89–103Google Scholar
  86. Woodhouse CA, Overpeck JT (1998) 2000 years of drought variability in the central United States. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 79:2693–2714.  https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Woodhouse CA, Meko DM, Griffin D, Castro CL (2013) Tree rings and multiseason drought variability in the lower Rio Grande Basin, USA. Water Resour Res 49:844–850.  https://doi.org/10.1002/wrcr.20098 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

Personalised recommendations