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A Dual Stable Isotope Approach Unravels Common Climate Signals and Species-Specific Responses to Environmental Change Stored in Multi-Century Tree-Ring Series from the Tibetan Plateau

1
Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
2
GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience, Section 5.2 Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
3
FZJ Research Centre Jülich, Institute of Bio- and Geosciences IBG-3, 52428 Jülich, Germany
4
Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100864, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(4), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9040151
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 16 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Biogeosciences)
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Abstract

Tree-rings are recorders of environmental signals and are therefore often used to reconstruct past environmental conditions. In this paper, we present four annually resolved, multi-centennial tree-ring isotope series from the southeastern Tibetan plateau. The investigation site, where juniper and spruce trees jointly occur, is one of the highest known tree-stands in the world. Tree ring cellulose oxygen (δ18O) and carbon (δ13C) isotopes were analyzed for a common period of 1685–2007 AD to investigate climate–isotope relationships. Therefore, various climate parameters from a local meteorological station and from the CRU 4.02 dataset were used. Tree-ring δ18O of both species revealed highly significant sensitivities with a high degree of coherence to hydroclimate variables during the growing season. The obtained δ18O–climate relationships can even be retained using a species mean. In contrast, the individual δ13C series indicated a weaker and non-uniform response to the tested variables. Underlying species-specific responses and adaptations to the long-term trend in atmospheric CO2 bias even after a trend correction identified dominant environmental factors triggering the tree-ring δ13C at our site. However, analysis of individual intrinsic water-use efficiency in juniper and spruce trees indicated a species-specific adaptation strategy to climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: tree-ring δ18O; tree-ring δ13C; Juniperus tibetica; Picea balfouriana; Tibetan plateau; intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE); multi-centennial isotope time-series tree-ring δ18O; tree-ring δ13C; Juniperus tibetica; Picea balfouriana; Tibetan plateau; intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE); multi-centennial isotope time-series
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Grießinger, J.; Bräuning, A.; Helle, G.; Schleser, G.H.; Hochreuther, P.; Meier, W. .-H.; Zhu, H. A Dual Stable Isotope Approach Unravels Common Climate Signals and Species-Specific Responses to Environmental Change Stored in Multi-Century Tree-Ring Series from the Tibetan Plateau. Geosciences 2019, 9, 151.

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