Influence of the Indian Ocean Dipole on tree-ring δ18O of monsoonal Southeast Tibet

Abstract

We present a newly developed, annually resolved tree-ring cellulose δ18O chronology for the southeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) from Sikkim larch (Larix griffithii), spanning between 1684 and 2012. Comparisons with local and regional climate data reveal strong positive correlations with monthly sunshine hours, temperature and daily temperature amplitude as well as strong negative correlations with relative humidity, vapor pressure, rain days per month and cloud cover of August. Relationships with local and regional tree-ring δ18O chronologies are stable and highly significant. Over the 20th century, we find no long-term climatic trends. This is consistent with other tree-ring δ18O chronologies of other tree species south of the Himalayas, but contrasts with results from isotope studies north of the Himalayas. This suggests stable macroclimatic flow patterns throughout the last centuries for the southern tree stands. In terms of large-scale climate dynamics, we find evidence of a significant 30-year wave influencing our tree-ring oxygen chronology, most probably induced by the Indian Ocean Dipole and influencing tree-ring oxygen isotope chronologies along the southeastern Himalaya and the southeastern rim of the TP. This pattern is spatially and temporarily consistent among the chronologies and has apparently strengthened during the last century. During periods of strong positive dipole mode activity, the dipole mode index shows positive correlations with the δ18O of tree-rings on the southeastern TP.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are indebted to the German Research Foundation (DFG BR 1895/21-1) for funding. We thank Dr. Fan Zexin for contributing climate data, and Dr. Masaki Sano and Dr. Qi-Bin Zhang for providing their δ18O series.

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Correspondence to Philipp Hochreuther.

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Hochreuther, P., Wernicke, J., Grießinger, J. et al. Influence of the Indian Ocean Dipole on tree-ring δ18O of monsoonal Southeast Tibet. Climatic Change 137, 217–230 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1663-8

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Keywords

  • Tibetan Plateau
  • Indian Ocean Dipole
  • Diurnal Temperature Range
  • Indian Ocean Dipole Event
  • Empirical Orthogonal Function