Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 136, Issue 1–2, pp 391–402 | Cite as

Unstable relationships between tree ring δ18O and climate variables over southwestern China: possible impacts from increasing central Pacific SSTs

  • Wenling An
  • Xiaohong LiuEmail author
  • Shugui Hou
  • Xiaomin Zeng
  • Weizhen Sun
  • Wenzhi Wang
  • Yu Wang
  • Guobao Xu
  • Jiawen Ren
Original Paper


In this study, we investigated the potential influence of central and eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) on the unstable relationship between earlywood δ18O and climatic factors in the southwestern China from 1902 to 2005. The results show that the strength of the climate signals recorded in the earlywood δ18O series has declined since the late 1970s. This reduction in signal strength may have been caused by the changes in the local hydroclimate, which is associated with the increasing SSTs in the central Pacific Ocean over recent decades. Alongside these increasing SSTs in the central Pacific, southwestern China has experienced more droughts, as well as more severe droughts through the late spring and early summer during the central Pacific (CP) El Niño years than during the eastern Pacific (EP) El Niño years in recent decades. This increased drought frequency may have weakened the response of earlywood δ18O to climate variables.



We gratefully acknowledge the journal editor and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Many thanks are due to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the Climate Research Unit (CRU), and the Global SPEI database for providing the relative gridded data, as well as the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) website for providing the relative spatial correlation analysis used in this study.


This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41401219, 415711961, 41630529, and 41690114), the fundamental Research funds for the Central Universities (Projects No, GK201801007) and by the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (29Y329B91).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenling An
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaohong Liu
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Shugui Hou
    • 5
  • Xiaomin Zeng
    • 3
  • Weizhen Sun
    • 4
  • Wenzhi Wang
    • 6
  • Yu Wang
    • 4
  • Guobao Xu
    • 4
  • Jiawen Ren
    • 4
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.CAS Center for Excellence in Life and PaleoenvironmentBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Geography and TourismShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  5. 5.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  6. 6.The Key Laboratory of Mountain Environment Evolution and Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina

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