Regional drought shifts (1710–2010) in East Central Asia and linkages with atmospheric circulation recorded in tree-ring δ 18 O

Guobao Xu, Xiaohong Liu, Valerie Trouet, Kerstin Treydte, Guoju Wu, Tuo Chen, Weizhen Sun, Wenling An, Wenzhi Wang, Xiaomin Zeng, Dahe Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drought occurrence and duration in central Asia are of important socioeconomic, ecological, and geophysical significance and have received increasing research attention in recent years. Understanding long-term drought trends and their driving forces require reliable records of past drought variability with broad spatial representativeness. Here, we compiled four tree-ring δ 18 O records from eastern central Asia (ECA) and composited them into a drought-sensitive proxy to explore regional ECA moisture variations over the past 301 years (1710–2010 CE). A robust regional standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index (SPEI) reconstruction was established based on the tree-ring cellulose δ 18 O fractionation mechanism and statistically significant proxy-climate relationships. We identified prominent droughts in 1710–1770, 1810–1830, and the beginning of the twenty-first century, and a regime shift to a persistently wet period from the 1880s to 2000. Our reconstruction reveals the impact of drought and pluvial patterns on the decline of Zhungar Empire, and on historical agricultural and socio-economical activities, including increased migration into ECA during the 1770–1800 pluvial. Our findings also suggest that wet conditions in the twentieth century in ECA were related to a strengthening of the westerly circulation and thus shed light on large-scale atmospheric circulation dynamics in central Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-727
Number of pages15
JournalClimate Dynamics
Volume52
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 24 2019

Keywords

  • Drought reconstruction
  • Eastern Central Asia
  • SPEI
  • Stable oxygen isotopes
  • Tree rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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