Skip to main content

Tree ring based drought variability in Northwest Tajikistan since 1895 AD

Abstract

Determining the mechanisms controlling the changes of wet and dry conditions will improve our understanding of climate change over the past hundred years, which is of great significance to the study of climate and environmental changes in the arid regions of Central Asia. Forest trees are ecologically significant in the local environment, and therefore the tree ring analysis can provide a clear record of regional historical climate. This study analyzed the correlation between the tree ring width chronology of Juniperus turkestanica Komarov and the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) in Northwest Tajikistan, based on 56 tree ring samples collected from Shahristan in the Pamir region. Climate data including precipitation, temperature and the SPEI were downloaded from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) TS 4.00. The COFECHA program was used for cross-dating, and the ARSTAN program was used to remove the growth trend of the tree itself and the influence of non-climatic factors on the growth of the trees. A significant correlation was found between the radial growth of J. turkestanica trees and the monthly mean SPEI of February–April. The monthly mean SPEI sequence of February–April during the period of 1895–2016 was reconstructed, and the reconstruction equation explained 42.5% of the variance. During the past 122 a (1895–2016), the study area has experienced three wetter periods (precipitation above average): 1901–1919, 1945–1983 and 1995–2010, and four drier periods (precipitation below average): 1895–1900, 1920–1944, 1984–1994 and 2011–2016. The spatial correlation analysis revealed that the monthly mean SPEI reconstruction sequence of February–April could be used to characterize the large-scale dry-wet variations in Northwest Tajikistan during the period of 1895–2016. This study could provide comparative data for validating the projections of climate models and scientific basis for managing water resources in Tajikistan in the context of climate change.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Allen K J, Ogden J, Buckley B M, et al. 2011. The potential to reconstruct broadscale climate indices associated with southeast Australian droughts from Athrotaxis species, Tasmania. Climate Dynamics, 37(9–10): 1799–1821.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bao G, Liu Y, Liu N, et al. 2015. Drought variability in eastern Mongolian Plateau and its linkages to the large-scale climate forcing. Climate Dynamics, 44(3–4): 717–733.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Biondi F, Waikul K. 2004. DendroClim2002: a C++ Program for statistical calibration of climate signals in tree-ring chronologies. Computers and Geosciences, 30(3): 303–311.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Briffa K R, Schweingruber F H, Jones P D, et al. 1998. Reduced sensitivity of recent tree-growth to temperature at high northern latitudes. Nature, 391: 678–682.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chen F, Yuan Y J, Wei W S, et al. 2011. Variations of long-term palmer drought index in recent 354 years in Yili based on tree-ring record. Plateau Meteorology, 30(2): 355–362. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen F, Yuan Y, Yu S, et al. 2015. A 225-year long drought reconstruction for east Xinjiang based on Siberia larch (Larix sibirica) tree-ring widths: reveals the recent dry trend of the eastern end of Tien Shan. Quaternary International, 358: 42–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cook E R. 1985. A Time Series Analysis Approach to Tree-Ring Standardization. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1–171.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cook E R, Kairiukstis L A. 1990. Methods of Dendrochronology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1–391.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Cook E R, Anchukaitis K J, Buckley B M, et al. 2010. Asian monsoon failure and megadrought during the last millennium. Science, 328(5977): 486–489.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Efron B. 1979. Bootstrap methods: another look at the jackknife. The Annals of Statistics, 7(1): 1–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fang K Y, Gou X H, Chen F H, et al. 2012. Tree-ring based reconstruction of drought variability (1615–2009) in the Kongtong Mountain area, northern China. Global Planetary Change, 80–81: 190–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fritts H C. 1976. Tree Rings and Climate. London: Academic Press, 1–582.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gou X H, Deng Y, Gao L L, et al. 2015. Millennium tree-ring reconstruction of drought variability in the eastern Qilian Mountains, northwest China. Climatic Dynamics, 45: 1761–1770.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harris I, Jones P D, Osborn T, et al. 2014. Updated high-resolution grids of monthly climatic observations-the CRU TS3. 10 Dataset. International Journal of Climatology, 34(3): 623–642.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holmes R L. 1983. Computer-assisted quality control in tree-ring dating and measurement. Tree-Ring Bulletin, 43(1): 69–78.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hughes M K, Swetnam T W, Diaz H F. 2011. Dendroclimatology: Progress and Prospects. Dordrecht: Springer Press, 1–365.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Immerzeel W W. 2010. Climate change will affect the Asian water towers. Science, 328(5984): 1382–1385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li G Q, Bai F, Sang W G. 2011. Different responses of radial growth to climate warming in Pinus koraiensis and Picea jezoensis var. Komarovii at their upper elevational limits in Changbai, China. Chinese Journal of Plant Ecology, 35(5): 500–511. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Li J, Chen F, Cook E R, et al. 2007. Drought reconstruction for North Central China from tree rings: the value of the Palmer drought severity index. International Journal of Climatology, 27(7): 903–909.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li J B, Gou X H, Cook E R, et al. 2006. Tree-ring based drought reconstruction for the central Tien Shan area in northwest China. Geophysical Research Letters, 33(7): L07715, doi: https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL025803.

    Google Scholar 

  • Li Y J, Gou X H, Fang K Y, et al. 2012. Reconstruction of precipitation of previous August to current June during 1821–2008 in the eastern Qilian Mountains. Journal of Desert Research, 32(5): 1393–1401. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Liang E Y, Liu X H, Yuan Y J, et al. 2006. The 1920s drought recorded by tree rings and historical documents in the semi-arid and arid areas of northern China. Climatic Change, 79: 403–432.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liu W H. 2016. Spatial and temporal variability of precipitation over the middle and eastern parts of Northwest China during the past 400 years and its potential driving mechanisms. PhD Dissertation. Lanzhou: Lanzhou University. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Liu Y, Sun J Y, Song H M, et al. 2010. Tree-ring hydrologic reconstructions for the Heihe River watershed, western China since AD 1430. Water Research, 44(9): 2781–2792.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liu Y, Lei Y, Sun B, et al. 2013a. Annual precipitation variability inferred from tree-ring width chronologies in the Changling-Shoulu region, China, during AD 1853–2007. Dendrochronologia, 31(4): 290–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liu Y, Lei Y, Sun B, et al. 2013b. Annual precipitation in Liancheng, China, since 1777 AD derived from tree rings of Chinese pine (Pinus tabulaeformis Carr.). International Journal of Biometeorology, 57(6): 927–934.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Opala-owczarek M, Niedzwiedz T, Rahmonov O, et al. 2014. The Dendroclimatic potential of shrubs from Western Pamir-Alay (Tajikistan). In: Association for Tree-ring Research. Trace 2014 Tree Rings in Archaeology, Climatology and Ecology. Aviemore, Scotland.

    Google Scholar 

  • Opala-owczarek M, Owczarek P, Rahmonov O, et al. 2018. The first dendrochronological dating of timber from Tajikistan-potential for developing a millennial tree-ring record. Tree-Ring Research, 74(1): 50–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Opala-owczarek M, Niedzwiedz T. 2019. Last 1100 yr of precipitation variability in western central Asia as revealed by tree-ring data from the Pamir-Alay. Quaternary Research, 91: 81–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pederson N, Hessl A E, Baatarbileg N, et al. 2014. Pluvials, droughts, the Mongol Empire, and modern Mongolia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(12): 4375–4379.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qiu A J. 2005. Studies on Leguminosae on the Pamirs of China. MSc Thesis. Xinjiang: Shihezi University. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Seddon A W R, Macias-Fauria M, Long P R, et al. 2016. Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability. Nature, 531(7593): 229–232.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vicente-Serrano S M, Begueria S, Löpez-Moreno J I. 2010. A multiscalar drought index sensitive to global warming: the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index. Journal of Climate, 23: 1696–1718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vicente-Serrano S M, Lopez-Moreno J I, Lorenzo-Lacruz J, et al. 2011. The NAO impact on droughts in the Mediterranean Region. In: Vicente-Serrano S, Trigo R. Hydrological, Socioeconomic and Ecological Impacts of the North Atlantic Oscillation in the Mediterranean Region. Advances in Global Change Research. Dordrecht: Springer, 23–40.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang L, Chen W. 2014. Applicability analysis of standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index in drought monitoring in China. Plateau Meteorology, 33(2): 423–431. (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang Y M, Feng Q, Kang X C. 2016. Tree-ring-based reconstruction of temperature variability (1445–2011) for the upper reaches of the Heihe River Basin, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 8(1): 60–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolff C, Plessen B, Dudashvilli A S, et al. 2017. Precipitation evolution of Central Asia during the last 5000 years. The Holocene, 27(1): 142–154.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yang F M, Wang N A, Feng S, et al. 2016. The spatial distribution of precipitation over the West Qinling region, China, AD 1470–2000. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 443: 278–285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yuan Y J, Li J F, Zhang J B. 2001. 348-year precipitation reconstruction from tree-rings for the North Slope of the middle Tianshan Mountains. Acta Meteorologica Sinica, 15(1): 95–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yuan Y J, Jin L Y, Shao X M, et al. 2003. Variations of the spring precipitation day numbers reconstructed from tree rings in the Urumqi River drainage, Tianshan Mts. over the last 370 years. Chinese Science Bulletin, 48(14): 1507–1510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang R B, Yuan Y J, Gou X H, et al. 2016. Streamflow variability for the Aksu River on the southern slopes of the Tian Shan inferred from tree ring records. Quaternary Research, 85(3): 371–379.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang T W, Yuan Y J, Chen F, et al. 2018. Reconstruction of hydrological changes based on tree-ring data of the Haba River, northwestern China. Journal of Arid Land, 10(1): 53–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Z. 2015. Tree-rings, a key ecological indicator of environment and climate change. Ecological Indicators, 51: 107–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the CAS “Light of West China” Program (2018-XBQNXZ-B-017, 2015-XBQN-B-22), the “100 Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences” (Y931201) and the “High Level Talent Introduction Project of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region” (Y942171).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yang Yu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yang, M., Yu, Y., Zhang, H. et al. Tree ring based drought variability in Northwest Tajikistan since 1895 AD. J. Arid Land 12, 413–422 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-020-0062-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-020-0062-1

Keywords

  • tree ring width
  • chronology
  • standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI)
  • drought
  • Juniperus turkestanica
  • Pamir region