A Hydroclimatic Regionalization of Central Mongolia as Inferred from Tree Rings

Leland, Caroline Wogan; Pederson, Neil; Hessl, Amy; Nachin, Baatarbileg; Davi, Nicole K.; D'Arrigo, Rosanne Dorothy; Jacoby, Gordon

In arid and semi-arid regions of the world, such as Mongolia, the future of water resources under a warming climate is of particular concern. The influence of increasing temperatures on precipitation is difficult to predict because precipitation trends in coming decades could have a high degree of spatial variability. In this study, we applied a rotated principal component analysis (RPCA) to a network of 20 tree-ring chronologies across central Mongolia from 1790 to 1994 to evaluate spatial hydroclimatic variability and to place recent variability in the context of the past several centuries. The RPCA results indicate that the network consists of four tree-growth anomaly regions, which were found to be relatively stable through time and space. Correlation analyses reveal spatial linkages between the tree-growth anomalies and instrumental data, where annual streamflow variability was strongly associated with tree-growth anomalies from their respective regions from 1959 to 1994 (r = 0.52–0.64, p < 0.05). This study highlights the extent of spatial variability in hydroclimate across central Mongolia and emphasizes the value of using tree-ring networks in locations with limited instrumental records.

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