Reconstruction of the geographic extent of drought anomalies in northwestern China over the last 539 years and its teleconnection with the Pacific Ocean

Harry F. LEE, David D. ZHANG, Qing PEI

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Abstract

Recent paleo-climatic/environmental studies have resulted in several high-resolution paleo-precipitation/moisture reconstructions in Northwestern (NW) China over extended periods. Nevertheless, those reconstructions are mostly about the climatic history of individual sites, while fine-grained portrayal and analysis of the geographic extent of drought anomalies across the entire NW China are still missing. We based our study on the dryness/wetness grade series of 19 sites in NW China, which are primarily derived from historical documents, to reconstruct the annual geographic extent of drought anomalies in NW China in AD 1470–2008. Our reconstruction reveals the following periods of drought in NW China: the AD 1470s–1490s, 1620s–1640s, 1700s–1720s, 1770s–1790s, 1860s–1870s, and 1910s–1930s. The most extremely dry years were AD 1928 and 1929. In addition, we found that the influence of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on the geographic extent of drought anomalies in NW China was non-stationary at the inter-annual to multi-decadal timescale and that the correlation switched from positive to negative since the late ‘Little Ice Age’. We propose that this non-stationary relationship is attributable to the variance of ENSO and the strength of Asian Summer Monsoon. To conclude, we discuss the implications of the above findings within the context of global warming. Copyright © The Author(s) 2015.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1284
JournalThe Holocene
Volume25
Issue number8
Early online date20 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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Citation

Lee, H. F., Zhang, D. D., & Pei, Q. (2015). Reconstruction of the geographic extent of drought anomalies in northwestern China over the last 539 years and its teleconnection with the Pacific Ocean. The Holocene, 25(8), 1271-1284. doi: 10.1177/0959683615581203.

Keywords

  • Asian Summer Monsoon
  • Drought anomalies
  • ENSO
  • Geographic extent
  • Northwestern China
  • Teleconnection