D'Arrigo Rosanne

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A long-term context (931–2005 C.E.) for rapid warming over Central Asia

2014-11 , Davi, Nicole K. , D'Arrigo, Rosanne , Jacoby, G. C. , Cook, Edward R. , Anchukaitis, Kevin J. , Nachin, B. , Rao, M. P. , Leland, C.

Warming over Mongolia and adjacent Central Asia has been unusually rapid over the past few decades, particularly in the summer, with surface temperature anomalies higher than for much of the globe. With few temperature station records available in this remote region prior to the 1950s, paleoclimatic data must be used to understand annual-to-centennial scale climate variability, to local response to large-scale forcing mechanisms, and the significance of major features of the past millennium such as the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and Little Ice Age (LIA) both of which can vary globally. Here we use an extensive collection of living and subfossil wood samples from temperature-sensitive trees to produce a millennial-length, validated reconstruction of summer temperatures for Mongolia and Central Asia from 931 to 2005 CE. This tree-ring reconstruction shows general agreement with the MCA (warming) and LIA (cooling) trends, a significant volcanic signature, and warming in the 20th and 21st Century. Recent warming (2000-2005) exceeds that from any other time and is concurrent with, and likely exacerbated, the impact of extreme drought (1999-2002) that resulted in massive livestock loss across Mongolia.

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Volcanic cooling signal in tree ring temperature records for the past millennium

2013-08-29 , D'Arrigo, Rosanne , Wilson, Rob , Anchukaitis, Kevin J.

Tree rings are an important proxy for understanding the timing and environmental consequences of volcanic eruptions as they are precisely dated at annual resolution and, particularly in tree line regions of the world, sensitive to cold extremes that can result from climatically significant volcanic episodes. Volcanic signals have been detected in ring widths and by the presence of frost-damaged rings, yet are often most clearly and quantitatively represented within maximum latewood density series. Ring width and density reconstructions provide quantitative information for inferring the variability and sensitivity of the Earth's climate system on local to hemispheric scales. After a century of dendrochronological science, there is no evidence, as recently theorized, that volcanic or other adverse events cause such severely cold conditions near latitudinal tree line that rings might be missing in all trees at a given site in a volcanic year (“stand-wide” missing rings), resulting in misdating of the chronology. Rather, there is a clear indication of precise dating and development of rings in at least some trees at any given site, even under adverse cold conditions, based on both actual tree ring observations and modeling analyses. The muted evidence for volcanic cooling in large-scale temperature reconstructions based at least partly on ring widths reflects several factors that are completely unrelated to any misdating. These include biological persistence of such records, as well as varying spatial patterns of response of the climate system to volcanic events, such that regional cooling, particularly for ring widths rather than density, can be masked in the large-scale reconstruction average.