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Reconstruction of maximum temperature on the Zhegu Mountain, western Sichuan Plateau of China

Maierdang Keyimu, Zongshan Li*, Yijin Zhao, Yanjun Dong, Bojie Fu, Zexin Fan, Xiaochun Wang

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Historical temperature reconstructions at high altitudes are still insufficient in southwestern China, which is considered as one of the most sensitive areas to climate change in the world. Here we develop a tree ring-width chronology of Faxon fir (Abies faxoniana) at the upper timber line on Zhegu Mountain, Miyaluo Scenic Area, western Sichuan, China. The climate–tree growth relationship analysis indicated temperature as the dominant regulator on radial tree growth in this region. The reconstruction of aggregated maximum temperature of autumn and winter which spans 1856–2016 was achieved with a linear regression model that accounted for 43.6% of the actual variability in the common time series (1954–2016). According to the reconstruction, warmer periods were 1860s–1880s, 1895s–1905s, 1950s–1965s and 1995 until present; and evident cold episodes were 1885s–1890s, 1905s–1925s, and 1965s–1995s, respectively. Similarities of warm and cold periods with other reconstructions from near sites indicated the fidelity of our reconstruction. The significant positive correlation between Tmax reconstruction and the Asian-Pacific Oscillation index and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index suggested the linkage between large-scale climate circulations and the thermal variability at multi-decadal scale on the western Sichuan Plateau. We also found that solar activity exerted strong influence of on decadal temperature variability in this region. The cold periods were matched well with the historical large volcanic eruptions. Our results strengthen the historical climatic information in the southwestern China and contribute to further understanding the regional thermal variability as well as its driving mechanism.