The extensive distribution of teak (Tectona grandis ) in the tropical forests in Southeast Asia makes it an important candidate for dendroclimatology in monsoon regions. Therefore, natural teak trees growing in Myanmar can be a valuable source to reconstruct precipitation beyond the existing instrumental records.
In a recent study published in Climate Dynamics, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) highlighted the potential of teak tree rings for extending the temporal and spatial availability of hydro-climate proxies in the monsoon regions of Southeast Asia.
The researchers constructed a well-replicated regional composite ring-width chronology for the period 1700–2016 based on increment cores from teak trees growing in the tropical forests of north-central Myanmar.
The tree-ring chronology showed a strong positive correlation with regional May–October precipitation. Teak radial growth in north-central Myanmar is strongly sensitive to moisture variability during the summer season.
Using a reliable composite teak chronology, the researchers reconstructed the May–October precipitation variations of north-central Myanmar for the past 247 years.
In the precipitation reconstruction, they detected 22 (16) extremely dry (wet) years, indicating that north-central Myanmar is under dry conditions during the monsoon season. The reconstruction also observed the East Indian drought and the Victorian Holocaust drought.
Moreover, the reconstruction showed high inter-annual fluctuations in monsoon precipitation over the past 247 years.
“Our reconstruction also contributes to improving model predictions of regional hydro-climate variability under global climate change,” said Dr. FAN Zexin, principal investigator of the study.
FAN Zexin Ph.D Principal Investigator
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China