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An Ensemble Weighting Approach for Dendroclimatology: Drought Reconstructions for the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau

Fang, Keyan; Wilmking, Martin; Davi, Nicole K.; Zhou, Feifei; Liu, Changzhi

Traditional detrending methods assign equal mean value to all tree-ring series for chronology developments, despite that the mean annual growth changes in different time periods. We find that the strength of a tree-ring model can be improved by giving more weights to tree-ring series that have a stronger climate signal and less weight to series that have a weaker signal. We thus present an ensemble weighting method to mitigate these potential biases and to more accurately extract the climate signals in dendroclimatology studies. This new method has been used to develop the first annual precipitation reconstruction (previous August to current July) at the Songmingyan Mountain and to recalculate the tree-ring chronology from Shenge site in Dulan area in northeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP), a marginal area of Asian summer monsoon. The ensemble weighting method explains 31.7% of instrumental variance for the reconstructions at Songmingyan Mountain and 57.3% of the instrumental variance in the Dulan area, which are higher than those developed using traditional methods. We focus on the newly introduced reconstruction at Songmingyan Mountain, which shows extremely dry (wet) epochs from 1862–1874, 1914–1933 and 1991–1999 (1882–1905). These dry/wet epochs were also found in the marginal areas of summer monsoon and the Indian subcontinent, indicating the linkages between regional hydroclimate changes and the Indian summer monsoon.

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Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
October 21, 2016