Climate-Driven Synchronized Growth of Alpine Trees in the Southeast Tibetan PlateauReport as inadecuate

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Knowledge about the spatiotemporal tree growth variability and its associations with climate provides key insights into forest dynamics under future scenarios of climate change. We synthesized 17 tree-ring width chronologies from four tree species at the high-elevation sites in the southeast Tibetan Plateau SETP to study the regional tree growth variability and climate-growth relationships. Despite of diverse habitats and different physiological characteristics of these species, these tree-ring chronologies shared a significant common variance in SETP. An unprecedented increase in the shared variance is found along the latter half of the 20th century, coinciding with the enhancement of the frequency of extreme rings among chronologies. It is found that minimum winter temperature tends to be the dominant climate for trees in this region. The site-specific responses in cold 1965–1980 and warm 1990–2005 intervals by means of Fuzzy Cmeans FCM clustering reveal that the remarkable enhancement of growth synchrony among trees mainly occur in warm conditions. This is different from previous findings indicating that increased consistence among temperature sensitive tree rings in cold periods. This may be related to the reduced temperature sensitivity of regional tree growth as winter minimum temperature is lower than a certain threshold, which is in agreement with the -principle of ecological amplitude-. In addition, it is worth noting that precipitation in June have started to restrain the tree growth since the beginning of the 1980s, which is possibly an important contributor for synchronized growth among trees in SETP.

Author: Feifei Zhou, Keyan Fang , Fen Zhang, Zhipeng Dong, Dan Chen



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