Climate Dynamics

, Volume 48, Issue 5–6, pp 1813–1825 | Cite as

Two centuries temperature variations over subtropical southeast China inferred from Pinus taiwanensis Hayata tree-ring width

  • QiuFang CaiEmail author
  • Yu LiuEmail author


High-resolution long-term temperature reconstructions in subtropical southeast China (SSC) are very scarce, yet indispensable for the comprehensive understanding of climate change in China, even in East Asia. We reconstructed the first previous growth-season temperature in the Sanqingshan Mountains (SQS), southeast China since 1806 based on tree-ring width data. The reconstruction accounts for 56.4 % of the total variance in the instrumental record over 1954–2009. Unlike the Northern Hemispheric warming during recent two centuries, the reconstruction captured a slowly cooling trend from 1806 to 1980, followed by a rapid warming afterward. 2003–2009 was the warmest period in the reconstruction. 1970–2000 was colder than the last stage of the Little Ice Age (LIA). Most of the warm and cold periods in this reconstruction could be found in the tree-ring based temperature reconstructions of vicinity area, indicating that the temperature variations in SSC were almost synchronous at least at decadal scale. This regional coherence of temperature variation was further confirmed by the spatial correlation patterns with the CRU TS3.22 grid dataset. A strong positive relationship between the temperature over SQS region and sea surface temperature (SST) over the North Pacific Ocean (NP) has been noted, suggesting that SST variations over NP and the related Pacific Decadal Oscillation significantly influenced the temperature variability over SSC. To better understand the climate variability during the LIA and the regional differences in temperature variations over SQS and northern Hemisphere, long data sets from more diverse areas of southern China are needed.


Subtropical southeast China Tree-ring width Maximum temperature reconstruction Spatial representativeness North Pacific Ocean PDO 



We greatly thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive suggestions and comments on the manuscript. This work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41171170), the “CAS light of west China” program, the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB955903) and the State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology foundation (SKLLQG). The authors also would like to thank the Mount Sanqingshan scenic area management committee of Jiangxi Province for their permission of sampling. We thank Dong Junchao and Chang Xiaohong for their help in the field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary GeologyInstitute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  2. 2.Joint Center for Global Change Studies (JCGCS)Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Environment Science and TechnologySchool of Human Settlements and Civil Engineering of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina

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