Climatic Change

, Volume 79, Issue 3–4, pp 403–432 | Cite as

The 1920S Drought Recorded by Tree Rings and Historical Documents in the Semi-Arid and Arid Areas of Northern China

  • Eryuan Liang
  • Xiaohong Liu
  • Yujiang Yuan
  • Ningsheng Qin
  • Xiuqi Fang
  • Lei Huang
  • Haifeng Zhu
  • Lily Wang
  • Xuemei Shao
Article

Abstract

Using a network of tree-ring data, we show that there had been significant growth decline in the 1920s and early 1930s throughout a wide area of northern China. This growth depression is indicative of a severe and sustained drought in the 1920s and early 1930s, which was then confirmed with a variety of historical and instrumental records including hydrological, meteorological, and documentary evidence. The 1920s drought had a devastating effect not only on agricultural productivity, hydrological resources and society in the affected areas, but also on natural vegetation, as inferred from the tree-ring network and historical records. This research offers a picture of the drought calamity during the 1920s and early 1930s in northern China, and demonstrates the potential to identify spatial anomalies of large-scale drought using tree-ring networks in the semi-arid and arid areas of northern China.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eryuan Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaohong Liu
    • 1
  • Yujiang Yuan
    • 3
  • Ningsheng Qin
    • 4
  • Xiuqi Fang
    • 5
  • Lei Huang
    • 1
  • Haifeng Zhu
    • 5
  • Lily Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xuemei Shao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China
  2. 2.Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP. R. China
  3. 3.Institute of Desert MeteorologyChina Meteorological AdministrationUrumqiP. R. China
  4. 4.Climate Date Center of QinghaiXiningP. R. China
  5. 5.Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingP. R. China

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