Natural discharge changes of the Naryn River over the past 265 years and their climatic drivers

Abstract

Originating in the Tianshan Mountains in arid Central Asia, the natural discharge change of the Naryn River is strongly affected by climate change. As the main source of water for the region, this river is crucial to both the natural environment and the socio-economic development. To extend the discharge record and better understand past and future changes in Naryn River discharge, we developed four tree-ring width chronologies and analyzed the relationship between tree growth and discharge. The resulting reconstruction dates back to 1753 and has an R2 of 0.374 (1939–2017). Interannual discharge variations of the Naryn River indicate that 1917 was the driest year of the past 265 years, while 1956 was the wettest. The record also indicates that the majority of extreme flood years occurred in the past century; prior to about 1900 C.E., the discharge of the Naryn River was relatively stable. Since 1900 C.E., discharge volume has gradually increased, as has discharge variability. At decadal time scales, the 2010s are notable for the frequency of major floods, whereas the 1910s were the driest. Between the 1870s and the 1910s, the Naryn River experienced a period of low discharge that continued for nearly half a century. The discharge of the Naryn River over the past 265 years appears to vary over quasi-periods of 60, 21, 11, and 2-4 years, which are driven by large-scale climate systems.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA20100306), National Natural Science Foundation of China Projects (41975110, 41805130), Tianshan Cedar Project of Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2019M650806). Sincerely thank Prof. Yong Zhao, the anonymous reviewers and editor for constructive comments and suggestions that improved the quality of the paper.

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Zhang, R., Ermenbaev, B., Zhang, H. et al. Natural discharge changes of the Naryn River over the past 265 years and their climatic drivers. Clim Dyn (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-020-05323-1

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Keywords

  • Tree rings
  • Discharge
  • Tianshan Mountains
  • Central Asia
  • Naryn River
  • Climate change