Climatic Change

, Volume 110, Issue 1–2, pp 469–498 | Cite as

Reconstructions of annual summer precipitation and temperature in north-central China since 1470 AD based on drought/flood index and tree-ring records

  • Liang YiEmail author
  • Hongjun Yu
  • Junyi Ge
  • Zhongping Lai
  • Xingyong Xu
  • Li Qin
  • Shuzhen Peng


The understanding of the ongoing climate change needs high-resolution records of the past, which are difficult to obtain in north-central China. Historical documents are unique materials for high-resolution (up to season) climate change reconstruction. Here, we report an attempt of quantitative climate reconstruction covering the main part of north-central China, by combining historical drought/flood index and tree-ring data. The rigorous verification tests confirm the fidelity of transfer functions used in the reconstructions. The precipitation and temperature anomalies/intervals were then defined based on the reconstructions. Finally, the intensity of several big droughts recorded in historical documents was re-examined and the dominant and recessive patterns of heat/water changes within the study area were identified. We concluded that (1) the droughts, occurred during the years of 1484 AD, 1585–1587 AD, 1689–1691 AD, 1784–1786 AD and 1876–1878 AD, were the results of rainless and torrid combination; (2) the droughts, occurred during the years of 1560–1561 AD, 1599–1601 AD, 1609 AD, 1615–1617 AD, 1638–1641 AD and 1899–1901 AD, were first caused by rainless summer, and then controlled by low precipitation and/or high temperature; (3) the droughts, occurred during the years of 1527–1529 AD, 1720–1722 AD, 1813–1814 AD, 1856–1857 AD and 1926–1930 AD, were first caused by torrid summer, and then controlled by both low precipitation and high temperature; (4) the dominant climate pattern within the study area consisted of warm–dry and cold–wet alternations, and the recessive pattern consisted of cold–dry and warm–wet alternations. We also showed that the drought/flood index is a valuable climate proxy in quantitative reconstructions, especially in places where tree-ring data is not available.


Tree Ring Precipitation Index Historical Document Palmer Drought Severity Index Temperature Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liang Yi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hongjun Yu
    • 1
  • Junyi Ge
    • 3
  • Zhongping Lai
    • 2
  • Xingyong Xu
    • 1
  • Li Qin
    • 4
  • Shuzhen Peng
    • 5
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Marine Sedimentology and Environmental Geology, First Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Salt Lake Resources and Chemistry, Qinghai Institute of Salt LakesChinese Academy of SciencesXiningChina
  3. 3.Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  4. 4.Chongqing Three Gorges Institute of PaleoanthropologyChina Three Gorges MuseumChongqingChina
  5. 5.Taishan UniversityTai’anChina

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