Relative humidity history on the Batang-Litang Plateau of western China since 1755 reconstructed from tree-ring δ18O and δD

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

We measured the annual variation in the stable isotopes of oxygen (δ18O) and hydrogen (δD) in tree rings of Abies georgei on the Batang-Litang Plateau of western China. Although correlations between tree-ring δ18O and δD are relatively weak in semi-arid regions, we found a strong correlation between the δ18O and δD time series from 1755 to 2009 under the wetter environment. Tree-ring δ18O and δD time series are both significantly and negatively correlated with moisture conditions from June to August, including relative humidity and total precipitation, respectively, from 1960 to 2009. Considering the difference in low-frequency domain between the two isotopes, the relative humidity histories from June to August, reconstructed separately from the tree-ring δ18O and δD data with instrumental climate data, reveal a persistent drying trend since 1850s, especially since the early 1970s. There is an obvious offset of reconstructed relative humidity from tree-ring δ18O and δD in the period 1755-1820, despite the strong similarity in their 21-year moving averages. The decreased relative humidity since the 1850s may be associated with the thermal contrast between the sea surface temperature of the Indian Ocean and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which determines the strength of moisture transfer via the Indian summer monsoon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2639-2654
Number of pages16
JournalClimate Dynamics
Volume42
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Atmospheric circulations
  • Batang-Litang Plateau
  • Dendrochronology
  • Relative humidity
  • Tree rings
  • δD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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