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Ranking of tree-ring based hydroclimate reconstructions of the past millennium

Journal article
Authors Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist
Alma Piermattei
Andrea Seim
Paul J. Krusic
Ulf Büntgen
Minhui He
Alexander V. Kirdyanov
Jürg Luterbacher
Lea Schneider
Kristina Seftigen
David W. Stahle
Ricardo Villalba
Bao Yang
Jan Esper
Published in Quaternary Science Reviews
Volume 230
ISSN 02773791
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev...
Keywords Climate change, Dendrochronology, Dendroclimatology, Hydroclimate, Paleoclimate, Past millennium, Proxy data
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Abstract

© 2019 The Authors To place recent hydroclimate changes, including drought occurrences, in a long-term historical context, tree-ring records serve as an important natural archive. Here, we evaluate 46 millennium-long tree-ring based hydroclimate reconstructions for their Data Homogeneity, Sample Replication, Growth Coherence, Chronology Development, and Climate Signal based on criteria published by Esper et al. (2016) to assess tree-ring based temperature reconstructions. The compilation of 46 individually calibrated site reconstructions includes 37 different tree species and stem from North America (n = 29), Asia (n = 10); Europe (n = 5), northern Africa (n = 1) and southern South America (n = 1). For each criterion, the individual reconstructions were ranked in four groups, and results showed that no reconstruction scores highest or lowest for all analyzed parameters. We find no geographical differences in the overall ranking, but reconstructions from arid and semi-arid environments tend to score highest. A strong and stable hydroclimate signal is found to be of greater importance than a long calibration period. The most challenging trade-off identified is between high continuous sample replications, as well as a well-mixed age class distribution over time, and a good internal growth coherence. Unlike temperature reconstructions, a high proportion of the hydroclimate reconstructions are produced using individual series detrending methods removing centennial-scale variability. By providing a quantitative and objective evaluation of all available tree-ring based hydroclimate reconstructions we hope to boost future improvements in the development of such records and provide practical guidance to secondary users of these reconstructions.

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