A winter temperature reconstruction for the Lidder Valley, Kashmir, Northwest Himalaya based on tree-rings of Pinus wallichiana

Abstract

A regional, 175 year long, tree-ring width chronology (spanning 1840–2014 C.E.) was developed for Pinus wallichiana A. B. Jacks. (Himalayan Blue pine) from the Lidder Valley, Kashmir, Northwest Himalaya. Simple and seasonal correlation analysis (SEASCORR) with monthly climate records demonstrates a significant direct positive relationship of tree growth with winter temperature. A linear regression model explains 64% of the total variance of the winter temperature and is used to reconstruct December–March temperatures back to 1855 C.E. The most noticeable feature of the reconstruction is a marked warming trend beginning in the late twentieth century and persisting through the present. This reconstruction was compared with instrumental records and other proxy based local and regional temperature reconstructions and generally agrees with the tree-ring records and is consistent with the marked loss of glacial ice over the last few decades. Spectral analysis reveals a periodicity likely associated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Spatial correlation patterns of sea surface temperatures with the observed and reconstructed winter temperatures are consistent with larger scale warming in the region.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their gratitude to Dr. R. C. Mehrotra, Director, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow for encouragement and permission to publish this work (BSIP no. 50/2018-19). Authors SKS wish to thank the officials of Kashmir Forest Department, Government of Jammu and Kashmir for giving them permission to collect samples. Author SKS is also indebted to S. A. Romshoo (Department Head) and Irfan Rashid of Department of Earth Sciences, Kashmir University for their kind help and support they provided in Kashmir and Asif Lone for helping in samples collection in the field. The authors are grateful to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for providing climate data. We are also grateful to Shiva for tree-ring sample processing (mounting and polishing) in the lab. The Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, supported this study under project number SB/S4/ES-621/2012 sanctioned to SKS. The authors are indebted to two anonymous reviewers for their critical comments and valuable suggestions to improve the final manuscript.

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Shah, S.K., Pandey, U., Mehrotra, N. et al. A winter temperature reconstruction for the Lidder Valley, Kashmir, Northwest Himalaya based on tree-rings of Pinus wallichiana. Clim Dyn 53, 4059–4075 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-019-04773-6

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Keywords

  • Himalayan Blue pine
  • Temperature
  • Recent warming
  • Kashmir valley
  • Tree-rings