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Intensified variability of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation enhances its modulations on tree growths in southeastern China over the past 218 years

Journal article
Authors Lei Wang
Keyan Fang
Dai Chen
Zhipeng Dong
Feifei Zhou
Yingjun Li
Peng Zhang
Tinghai Ou
Guoyang Guo
Xinguang Cao
Mingtong Yu
Published in International Journal of Climatology
Volume 38
Issue 14
Pages 5293-5304
ISSN 0899-8418
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 5293-5304
Language en
Keywords ENSO, inter-annual variability, southeast China, tree rings
Subject categories Climate Research


© 2018 Royal Meteorological Society Lack of long-term tree-ring records in the core regions of the Asian summer monsoon in southeastern China limits our ability of evaluating the current climate change in a historical context. In this study, we developed the first 218-year tree-ring chronology (1798–2015) of Pinus massoniana in Zhangping area, Fujian Province, humid subtropical China. This chronology is positively correlated with winter–spring (January–March) temperature (r = 0.359, p <.01) and summer (July–September) precipitation (r = 0.351, p <.01). Although the correlations between our tree rings with sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are not very high, the correlation pattern is very close to the correlation pattern with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation variability (ENSO). These suggest that the ENSO could be the major large-scale regulator on the growth of our tree rings. The strength of the correlations between our tree rings and the ENSO (r = 0.30, N = 66) matches closely with the ENSO variability during 1950–2015. The modulations of the ENSO on regional tree growth have been the most conspicuous since the 1950s, which corresponds to its enhanced inter-annual variability. The extreme growth anomalies match quite well with the extreme years of the moisture-sensitive chronologies. The dry epoch from 1935 to 1958 is the most severe long-lasting drought in our tree rings, which is a widely distributed pattern in southeastern China and is likely modulated by the La Niña-like modes in that period.

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