Hydroclimatological extremes, such as droughts and floods, are expected to increase in frequency and intensity with global climate change. An improved knowledge of its natural variability and the underlying physical mechanisms for changes in the hydrological cycle will help understand the response of extreme hydroclimatic events to climate warming. This study presents the first gridded hydroclimatic reconstruction (0.5° × 0.5° grid resolution), as expressed by the warm season Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), for most of Fennoscandia. A point-by-point regression approach is used to develop the reconstruction from a network of moisture sensitive tree-ring chronologies spanning over the past millennium. The reconstruction gives a unique opportunity to examine the frequency, severity, persistence, and spatial characteristics of Fennoscandian hydroclimatic variability in the context of the last 1,000 years. The full SPEI reconstruction highlights the seventeenth century as a period of frequent severe and widespread hydroclimatic anomalies. Although some severe extremes have occurred locally throughout the domain over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the period is surprisingly free from any spatially extensive anomalies. The twentieth century is not anomalous in terms of the number of severe and spatially extensive hydro climatic extremes in the context of the last millennium. Principle component analysis reveals that there are two dominant modes of spatial moisture variability across Fennoscandia. The same patterns are evident in the observational record and in the reconstructed dataset over the instrumental era and two paleoperiods. The 500 mb pressure patterns associated with the two modes suggests the importance of the summer North Atlantic Oscillation.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Barnston AG, Livezey RE (1987) Classification, seasonality and persistence of low-frequency atmospheric circulation patterns. Mon Weather Rev 115:1083–1126
Biondi F, Kozubowski TJ, Panorska AK (2002) Stochastic modeling of regime shifts. Clim Res 23:23–30
Buckley BM et al (2010) Climate as a contributing factor in the demise of Angkor, Cambodia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107:6748–6752
Chang TJ, Cleopa XA (1991) A proposed method for drought monitoring. Water Resour Bull 27:275–281
Cook ER (1985) A time series analysis approach to tree-ring standardization, PhD Dissertation, University of Arizona
Cook ER, Meko DM, Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK (1999) Drought reconstructions for the continental United States. J Clim 12:1145–1162
Cook ER, Woodhouse CA, Eakin CM, Meko DM, Stahle DW (2004) Long-term aridity changes in the western United States. Science 306:1015–1018
Cook ER, Anchukaitis KJ, Buckley BM, D’Arrigo RD, Jacoby JC, Wright WE (2010) Asian monsoon failure and megadrought during the lastmillennium. Science 328:486–489
Cook ER, Krusic PJ, Holmes RH, Peters K (2013) Program ARSTAN, 2013 (www.ldeo.columbia.edu/tree-ring-laboratory)
Drobyshev I, Niklasson M, Linderholm HW, Seftigen K, Hickler T, Eggertsson O (2011) Reconstruction of a regional drought index in southern Sweden since AD 1750. The Holocene 21(4):667–679
Fang K, Gou X, Chen F, Cook E, Li J, Buckley B, D’Arrigo R (2011) Large-scale precipitation variability over northwest China inferred from tree rings. J Clim 24(13):3457–3468
Folland CK, Knight J, Linderholm HW, Fereday D, Ineson S, Hurrell JW (2009) The Summer North Atlantic Oscillation: past, present and future. J Clim 22:1082–1103
Friedman JH (1984) A variable span smoother. Stanford University, Stanford
Gordon G (1982) Verification of dendroclimatic reconstructions. In: Hughes MK, Kelly PM, Pilcher JR, LaMarche VC Jr (eds) Climate from tree rings. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 58–61
Grissino-Mayer HD, Fritts HC (1997) The international tree-ring data bank: an enhanced global database serving the global scienti_c community. The Holocene 7:235–238
Harris I, Jones PD, Osborn TJ, Lister DH (2013) Updated high-resolution grids of monthly climatic observations. Int J Climatol, doi:10.1002/joc.3711
Heim RR (2002) A review of twentieth-century drought indices used in the United States. Bull Am Meteor Soc 83:1149–1165
Helama S, Lindholm M (2003) Droughts and rainfall in south-eastern Finland since AD 874, inferred from Scots pine ring-widths. Boreal Environ Res 8:171–183
Helama S, Merilainen J, Tuomenvirta H (2009) Multicentennial megadrought in northern Europe coincided with a global El Nino- Southern Oscillation drought pattern during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Geology 37:175–178
Holmes RL (1983) Computer-assisted quality control in tree-ring dating and measurement. Tree-ring Bull 43:69–78
Hua T, Wang XM, Zhang CX et al (2013) Temporal and spatial variations in the Palmer Drought Severity Index over the past four centuries in arid, semiarid, and semihumid East Asia. Chin Sci Bull 58:4143–4152
Hurrell J (1995) Decadal trends in the north Atlantic oscillation: regional temperatures and precipitation. Science 269(5224):676–679
IPCC (2013) Summary for policymakers. In: Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S. K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels]
Kosaka Y, Xie S-P (2013) Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling. Nature 501:403–407
Linderholm HW, Molin T (2005) Early nineteenth century drought in east central Sweden inferred from dendrochronological and historical archives. Clim Res 29:63–72
Luterbacher J, Xoplaki E, Dietrich D, Rickli R, Jacobeit J, Beck C, Gyalistras D, Schmutz C, Wanner H (2002) Reconstruction of sea level pressure fields over the eastern north Atlantic and Europe back to 1500. Clim Dyn 18:545–561
National Research Council (2006) Surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years. National Academies Press, Washington, DC 196 pp
Nicault A, Alleaume S, Brewer S, Carrer M, Nola P, Guiot J (2007) Mediterranean drought fluctuation during the last 500 years based on tree-ring data. Clim Dyn 31:227–245
Osborn TJ, Briffa KR, Jones PD (1997) Adjusting variance for sample-size in tree-ring chronologies and other regional-mean time-series. Dendrochronologia 15:89–99
PAGES 2 k Consortium (2013) Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia. Nat Geosci 6:339–346
Seftigen K, Linderholm HW, Drobyshev I, Niklasson M (2013) Reconstructed drought variability in east-central Sweden since the 1650 s. Int J Climatol 33:2449–2458. doi:10.1002/joc.3592
Seftigen K (2014) Late Holocene spatiotemporal hydroclimatic variability over Fennoscandia inferred from tree-rings. Doctoral Thesis, University of Gothenburg
Stokes MA, Smiley TL (1968) An introduction to tree-ring dating. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Thornthwaite CW (1948) An approach toward a rational classification of climate. Geogr Rev 38(1):55–94. doi:10.2307/210739
Touchan R, Anchukaitis KJ, Meko DM, Sabir M, Attalah S, Aloui A (2011) Spatiotemporal drought variability in northwestern Africa over the last nine centuries. Clim Dyn 37:237–253
Trenberth KE, Paolino DA Jr (1980) The Northern Hemisphere sea-level pressure data set: trends, errors and discontinuities. Mon Weather Rev 108:855–872
Vicente-Serrano SM, Beguería S, López-Moreno JI (2010) A multi-scalar drought index sensitive to global warming: the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index-SPEI. J Clim 23:1696–1718
Wanner H, Bronnimann S, Casty C, Gyalistras D, Luterbacher J, Schmutz C, Stephenson DB, Xoplaki E (2001) North Atlantic oscillation: concepts and studies. Surv Geophys 22:321–382
Wilhite DA, Glantz MH (1985) Understanding the drought phenomenon: the role of definitions. Water Int 10:111–120
This research has been supported by the Swedish Research councils Vetenskapsrådet and FORMAS (grants to Hans W Linderholm). The paper contributes to the Swedish strategic research areas Modelling the Regional and Global Earth system (MERGE), and Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate (BECC). This is Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Contribution No. 7801, and contribution No. 29 from the Sino-Swedish Centre for Tree ring Research (SISTRR). The authors wish to thank the Swedish county administrations of Kalmar, Kronoberg, Västra Götaland, Jönköping, Örebro, Östergötland, Södermanland, Uppsala, and Gävleborg for sampling permissions; Alexander Saplin, Peter Seftigen and Petter Stridbeck for help in the field. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the numerous researchers who have contributed their data to the ITRDB. Finally, we thank the two anonymous reviewers and the journal editor for providing constructive feedback on the initial submitted version of this manuscript.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Seftigen, K., Björklund, J., Cook, E.R. et al. A tree-ring field reconstruction of Fennoscandian summer hydroclimate variability for the last millennium. Clim Dyn 44, 3141–3154 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-014-2191-8
- Standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index
- Field reconstruction
- North Atlantic Oscillation