Recent advances in dendroclimatology in China
Considerable progress has been made in dendroclimatological research in China during the period 2000–2017, including a significant increase in the spatial coverage of tree-ring chronologies developed for paleoclimatic research. New tree-ring sampling sites have been established across the Tibetan Plateau, as well as the northeastern and sub-tropical eastern parts of China. Most of the studies useconiferous trees, although different plant functional types (e.g., broadleaf species and shrubs) have also been increasingly investigated. Tree-ring chronologies longer than 600 years, however, are mostly found on the Tibetan Plateau, with the longest one extending back to 2637 BCE (before Common Era). Most tree-ring records in the eastern parts of China are <400 years long. Tree-ring width is the most commonly studied parameter, although stable isotope ratios and wood density data have also been obtained for specific sites. Stable oxygen isotope data frequently shares a common hydroclimate signal, whereas the climate or environmental signals remain inconsistent for the few available stable carbon isotope records. In general, tree-ring width-based temperature reconstructions originate from higher elevation sites (i.e., treeline) compared to hydroclimate reconstructions. Precipitation or drought reconstructions are mainly obtained from regions with an annual precipitation of <800 mm. Most of the tree-ring reconstructions are based on individual site or local-scale chronologies, although a limited number of regional-scale and field reconstructions have been produced. The most prominent identified characteristics of the recent advances in dendroclimatological research for China have manifested in aspects such as an expanded network of sampling sites, improved climate reconstruction methodology, and improved uncertainty estimations in the latter. Furthermore, the traditional statistical-based tree growth–climate relationships have been supplemented by monitoring and modeling approaches. Based on the progress from 2000 to 2017, and on the research potential of the country in this field, we expect additional widening of the dendroclimatological investigations in China during the coming years.
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