Monogolian tree-rings, temperature sensitivity and reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature

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Much of northern Asia is lacking in high-resolution palaeoclimatic data coverage. This vast region thus represents a sizeable gap in data sets used to reconstruct hemispheric-scale temperature trends for the past millennium. To improve coverage, we present a regional-scale composite of four tree-ring width records of Siberian pine and Siberian larch from temperature-sensitive alpine timber-line sites in Mongolia. The chronologies load closely in principal components analysis (PCA) with the first eigenvector accounting for over 53% of the variance from ad 1450 to 1998. The 20-year interval from 1974 to 1993 is the highest such growth period in this composite record, and 17 of the 20 highest growth years have occurred since 1946. Thus these trees, unlike those recently described at some northern sites, do not appear to have lost their temperature sensitivity, and suggest that recent decades have been some of the warmest in the past 500 years for this region. There are, however, comparable periods of inferred, local warmth for individual sites, e.g., in 1520- 1580 and 1760-1790. The percent common variance between chronologies has increased through time and is highest (66.1%) in the present century. Although there are obvious differences among the individual chronologies, this result suggests a coherent signal which we consider to be related to temperature. The PCA scores show trends which strongly resemble those seen in recent temperature reconstructions for the Northern Hemisphere, very few of which included representation from Eurasia east of the Ural Mountains. The Mongolia series therefore provides independent corroboration for these reconstructions and their indications of unusual warming during the twentieth century.


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