Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 7–8, pp 1697–1707 | Cite as

Precipitation variability during the past 400 years in the Xiaolong Mountain (central China) inferred from tree rings

  • Keyan Fang
  • Xiaohua Gou
  • Fahu Chen
  • David Frank
  • Changzhi Liu
  • Jinbao Li
  • Miklos Kazmer


We developed the first tree-ring chronology, based on 73 cores from 29 Pinus tabulaeformis trees, for the Xiaolong Mountain area of central China, a region at the boundary of the Asian summer monsoon. This chronology exhibits significant (at 0.01 level) positive correlations with precipitation in May and June, and negative correlations with temperature in May, June and July. Highest linear correlation is observed between tree growth and the seasonalized (April–July) precipitation, suggesting that tree rings tend to integrate the monthly precipitation signals. Accordingly, the April–July total precipitation was reconstructed back to 1629 using these tree rings, explaining 44.7 % of the instrumental variance. A severe drought occurred in the area during the 1630s–1640s, which may be related to the weakened Asian summer monsoon caused by a low land-sea thermal gradient. The dry epoch during the 1920s–1930s and since the late 1970s may be explained by the strengthened Hadley circulation in a warmer climate. The dry (wet) epochs of the 1920s–1930s (the 1750s and 1950s) occurred during the warm (cold) phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that are often associated with weakened (strengthened) East Asian summer monsoon. These relationships indicate significant teleconnections operating over the past centuries in central China related to large-scale synoptic features.


Tree ring Precipitation Central China Asian summer monsoon Dendroclimatology 



The authors acknowledge the kind assistances from Dongju Zhang and Zhiqian Zhao. This research was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB955301), the National Science Foundation of China (41001115 and 40971119), the Chinese 111 Project (B06026), and Hungarian NSF grant K 67.583. DCF acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (NCCR-Climate, DE-TREE).

Supplementary material

382_2012_1371_MOESM1_ESM.doc (358 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 358 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), Research School of Arid Environment and Climate ChangeLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Geosciences and GeographyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Swiss Federal Research Institute WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  4. 4.Oeschger Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  5. 5.International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  6. 6.Department of PalaeontologyEotvos UniversityBudapestHungary

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