PRECIPITATION–TEMPERATURE INTERACTIONS IN THE WEST ALTAY MOUNTAINS INFERRED FROM TREE RINGS OF SIBERIAN LARCH

in IAWA Journal
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Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) trees were studied in a drought-stressed, lowe-levation Taiga forest in the Altay Mountains for their potential to be used for reconstructing precipitation. A climate/growth analysis provided evidence that the tree-ring widths were strongly determined by the climatic conditions from May to July, positively by precipitation and negatively by temperature. Nevertheless, the resulting regional tree-ring chronology of Siberian larch offers only a limited possibility to perform reliable reconstructions of precipitation as only 30.8% of the total variation of the actual April–July precipitation was explainable. Drought events reflected by the chronology were compared with historical records and other tree-ring derived climate reconstructions, showing some common events of climate extremes over much of Central Asia. This new Siberian larch chronology and an earlier maximum latewood density (MXD) chronology from the neighboring region reveal that the local climate is mainly characterized by cold/wet and warm/dry situations over the past 251 years. This study demonstrates that the use of both tree-ring width and MXD data may increase information of past climate variability in the Altay mountain region.

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