Temperature variations since the mid-18th century for western Nepal, as reconstructed from tree-ring width and density of Abies spectabilis

Masaki Sano, Fumito Furuta, Osamu Kobayashi, Tatsuo Sweda

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Abstract

The climate of western Nepal was reconstructed for the past 249 years using ring width and wood density of Abies spectabilis (D. Don) Spach from western Nepal. A total of 46 increment core samples were collected from 23 individual trees growing in an open A. spectabilis stand near timberline of 3850 m a.s.l. in Humla District, western Nepal. The core samples were subjected to densitometric analysis to obtain chronologies of ring width and three kinds of intra-annual bulk densities, i.e., minimum, maximum, and mean. Response analysis of tree-ring parameters with climate records revealed that the ring width was correlated negatively with March-May (pre-monsoon) temperature and positively with March-May precipitation, while the minimum density was correlated positively with March-July temperature and negatively with March-May precipitation. On the other hand, the maximum and mean densities were positively correlated with August-September and March-September temperatures, respectively. These results indicate that the ring width and minimum density are primarily controlled by the pre-monsoon temperature and precipitation, while the latewood density by the late monsoon temperature. Finally based on these results of the response analysis, a transfer function was established, with which March-September temperature was reconstructed for the past 249 years, which shows a warming trend from 1750s until approximately 1790, followed by cooling until 1810, then by a gradual warming trend extending to 1950, and a notable cold period continuing up to the present. No evidence of a consistent warming trend over the last century or two commonly appearing in higher latitudes was found in the present reconstruction, but possible factor behind the widespread glacial retreat in the Nepal Himalayas was discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalDendrochronologia
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec 8
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Climate reconstruction
  • Dendroclimatology
  • Densitometric analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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