Tree-ring reconstructions of cool season temperature for far southeastern Australia, 1731–2007

  • K. J. AllenEmail author
  • K. J. Anchukaitis
  • M. G. Grose
  • G. Lee
  • E. R. Cook
  • J. S. Risbey
  • T. J. O’Kane
  • D. Monselesan
  • A. O’Grady
  • S. Larsen
  • P. J. Baker


At the global scale, reconstructions of cool season temperature over past centuries are relatively rare. Here we present 277-year reconstructions of cool season (July–October) temperatures for southern Australia based on three different data sets: a spatial field reconstruction based on highly resolved temperature data from the Australian Water Availability Product data; reconstructions for the four southeast Australian states based on the Berkeley Earth mean temperature data for each state; and reconstructions for individual stations in southeastern Australia from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Climate Observations Reference Network–Surface Air Temperature data. Our reconstructions typically capture 25–50% of the variation over the late twentieth Century calibration period and are strongest for the southern state of Tasmania and the southeastern part of mainland Australia. All three use Tasmanian tree-rings sensitive to cool season temperatures and display similar variability. In the context of our reconstructions, the persistent warming in the observed record since ~ 1950 is unprecedented. While the low frequency variability of winter temperatures is generally in step with that in summer (December–February) temperatures, high frequency variability is not, illustrating the need for seasonal reconstructions to help improve understanding of variability in inter-seasonal dynamics and the historical importance of this on the environment. The reconstructions covary with changes in the Southern Annular Mode and may be useful for future reconstructions of this phenomenon.


Cool season temperature reconstruction Australia Tree rings 



We thank Mike Sumner for assistance with coding and Martin Visbeck for the SAM indices. Jonathan Palmer made constructive comments on an early draft of this manuscript. Tree-ring data used in this study are available from the International Tree-ring Databank (ITRDB), and reconstructions can be obtained from the corresponding author. KA was supported by Australian Research Council grants DP087844 and LP1202811. This is Lamont-Doherty contribution no. 8278. The Dobrovolny data were sourced from the NOAA website at We thank two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions that have helped improve this work.

Supplementary material

382_2018_4602_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13520 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. J. Allen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • K. J. Anchukaitis
    • 3
  • M. G. Grose
    • 4
  • G. Lee
    • 5
  • E. R. Cook
    • 6
  • J. S. Risbey
    • 4
  • T. J. O’Kane
    • 4
  • D. Monselesan
    • 4
  • A. O’Grady
    • 7
  • S. Larsen
    • 8
  • P. J. Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Ecosystem and Forest ScienceUniversity of MelbourneRichmondAustralia
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and HeritageUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Geography and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.CSIRO Oceans and AtmosphereHobartAustralia
  5. 5.Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Research CentreUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  6. 6.Tree-ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth ObservatoryNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.CSIRO Land and WaterHobartAustralia
  8. 8.Institute of Marine ResearchBergenNorway

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