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Juniper Tree-Ring Data from the Kuramin Range (Northern Tajikistan) Reveals Changing Summer Drought Signals in Western Central Asia

Journal article
Authors F. Chen
T. W. Zhang
A. Seim
S. L. Yu
R. B. Zhang
Hans W. Linderholm
Z. V. Kobuliev
A. Ahmadov
A. Kodirov
Published in Forests
Volume 10
Issue 6
ISSN 1999-4907
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords Kuramin Range, Tajikistan, tree rings, drought reconstruction, synoptic climatology analysis, precipitation reconstruction, qilian mountains, last millennium, climate-change, shan, history, dry, variability, spruce, china, Forestry
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Coniferous forests cover the mountains in many parts of Central Asia and provide large potentials for dendroclimatic studies of past climate variability. However, to date, only a few tree-ring based climate reconstructions exist from this region. Here, we present a regional tree-ring chronology from the moisture-sensitive Zeravshan juniper (Juniperus seravschanica Kom.) from the Kuramin Range (Tajikistan) in western Central Asia, which is used to reveal past summer drought variability from 1650 to 2015 Common Era (CE). The chronology accounts for 40.5% of the variance of the June-July self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI) during the instrumental period (1901 to 2012). Seven dry periods, including 1659-1696, 1705-1722, 1731-1741, 1758-1790, 1800-1842, 1860-1875, and 1931-1987, and five wet periods, including 1742-1752, 1843-1859, 1876-1913, 1921-1930, and 1988-2015, were identified. Good agreements between drought records from western and eastern Central Asia suggest that the PDSI records retain common drought signals and capture the regional dry/wet periods of Central Asia. Moreover, the spectral analysis indicates the existence of centennial (128 years), decadal (24.3 and 11.4 years), and interannual (8.0, 3.6, 2.9, and 2.0 years) cycles, which may be linked with climate forces, such as solar activity and El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The analysis between the scPDSI reconstruction and large-scale atmospheric circulations during the reconstructed extreme dry and wet years can provide information about the linkages of extremes in our scPDSI record with the large-scale ocean-atmosphere-land circulation systems.

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