A 400-year tree-ring δ18O chronology for the southeastern Tibetan Plateau: Implications for inferring variations of the regional hydroclimate

Xiaohong Liu, Xiaomin Zeng, Steven W. Leavitt, Wenzhi Wang, Wenling An, Guobao Xu, Weizhen Sun, Yu Wang, Dahe Qin, Jiawen Ren

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41 Scopus citations


We developed a new tree-ring cellulose δ18O chronology for the southeastern Tibetan Plateau from Balfour spruce (Picea likiangensis var. balfouriana [Rehd. et Wils.]) that covered the period from 1600 to 2008, and compared the results with a previous study to explore climatic variations in the Nyingchi-Bomi area. Our tree-ring δ18O chronology correlated significantly with the previous study (Shi et al., 2012; Climate of the Past 8, 205-213) during the common period from 1781 to 2005, and provided new insights into long-term regional hydroclimatic variations. Besides the significant positive correlations between tree-ring δ18O and the temperature and sunshine duration during the growing season, tree-ring δ18O was strongly negatively correlated with regional cloud cover, relative humidity, and precipitation in July and August. The correlations with cloud cover data were stronger than in previous research, but the correlations with precipitation and relative humidity in July and August were weaker. When Indian summer monsoon conditions prevail, regional hydroclimate variations (and especially cloud cover) have the dominant influence on tree-ring δ18O in the study area. Based on the regional data, δ18O in tree rings can be an effective proxy to infer the temporal variations in regional hydroclimatic conditions and the strength of the Indian Summer Monsoon. Our results reveal that the Indian Summer Monsoon weakened from 1600 to 1650, followed by continuous strengthening until 1740 and a slight weakening from 1740 to present. The temporal variations in the cellulose δ18O chronology generally corresponded well to the δ18O and glacier snow accumulation records found in ice cores from the middle Himalaya.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Indian Summer Monsoon
  • Regional hydroclimate
  • Tibetan Plateau
  • Tree-ring δO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Oceanography


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