CR 55:119-134 (2012)  -  DOI:

Potential to explain climate from tree rings in the south of the Iberian Peninsula

Isabel Dorado Liñán1,2,*, Emilia Gutiérrez2, Laia Andreu-Hayles2,3, Ingo Heinrich1, Gerhard Helle1

1Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, Potsdam Dendro Laboratory, German Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg,
14473 Potsdam, Germany
2Departament d’Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
3Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10694, USA

ABSTRACT: Detecting and extracting the dominant climatic signal from tree-ring records derived from Mediterranean areas remains challenging because the relation between climate and tree-growth are usually characterized by a complex interplay of temperature and precipitation signals, with high spatial and temporal variability. Although several studies have established climate−growth relationships in old forests on the Iberian Peninsula (IP), a reliable calibration level between tree-ring data and the instrumental records making possible the inference of past climate has not yet been established, mainly due to low correlation coefficients (i.e. r ≤ 0.4) and/or instability over time of the climate−growth relationships. We tested for spatial significance and temporal stability of climatic signals in a collection of tree-ring proxies at the Cazorla Range (NCZ), located in the southeast of the IP. The aim was to identify suitable proxies for further use in climate reconstructions. The tree-ring variables under investigation included tree-ring width (TRW), latewood width (LWw), maximum latewood density (MXD) and stable carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotopes. Our results show how the strength and temporal stability of the relationship between tree-ring proxies and selected seasonal climate variables largely depend on the climate data used. Moreover, imprecise identification of the climate signal may lead to erroneous evaluations of temporal stability. Overall, from the set of proxies measured at NCZ, TRW is suitable to reconstruct summer to autumn temperature while δ13C can potentially be used as a proxy for summer precipitation reconstructions. The calibration−verification trials using both regression and scaling techniques revealed how scaling retains more inter-annual variability but decreases the values of the reduction of error (RE).

KEY WORDS: Tree-rings · Dendroclimatology · Climate signal · Temporal stability · Pinus nigra · Stable isotopes

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Cite this article as: Dorado Liñán I, Gutiérrez E, Andreu-Hayles L, Heinrich I, Helle G (2012) Potential to explain climate from tree rings in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Clim Res 55:119-134.

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