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Brno, Czech Republic

Konter O.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Esper J.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Liebhold A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Kyncl T.,Moravian Dendro Labor | And 5 more authors.
Trees - Structure and Function | Year: 2015

Key message: The absence of larch budmoth outbreaks and subsequentconsequences on tree rings together with a distinct climate–growth relationship enhance the dendroclimatic potential of larch ring width data from the Tatra Mountains. Abstract: Regular population oscillations are generally considered to arise from trophic interactions, though it is unclear how such cycles are affected by biotic and abiotic factors. Cyclic outbreaks of the larch budmoth (LBM; Zeiraphera diniana), perhaps the most prominent example of periodic insect population dynamics, leave distinct “fingerprints” in the annual rings of host trees, and have been reconstructed over 1,200 years in the European Alps. Although LBM individuals are known to exist in other regions, it is unclear whether recurrent mass outbreaks historically occurred elsewhere. Here, we present new larch (Larix decidua) host and pine (Pinus cembra) non-host chronologies from the Slovakian Tatra that comprise 323 ring width samples dating back to 1612 AD. May–June and May–July temperatures control larch and pine growth (r1951–2011 = 0.63 and 0.57; p < 0.001), respectively. LBM outbreak-induced defoliation patterns and subsequent ring width reductions were absent over the past three centuries, during which larch (host) and pine (non-host) growth was significantly synchronized (r1725–2012 = 0.48; p < 0.001). Spatially limited host forests of overall low stand densities along the northwestern Carpathian arc together with a relatively warm climate envelope are most likely responsible for the absence of cyclic LBM outbreaks. Tree-ring chronologies from these ecotones, free of pulsed disruptions, therefore, represent unique paleoclimatic archives ideal for reconstructing interannual to multi-centennial variations in Eastern European summer temperature. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Buntgen U.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Buntgen U.,Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research | Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Dobrovolny P.,Masaryk University | And 2 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Climatology | Year: 2011

Past, present, and projected fluctuations of the hydrological cycle, associated to anthropogenic climate change, describe a pending challenge for natural ecosystems and human civilizations. Here, we compile and analyze long meteorological records from Brno, Czech Republic and nearby tree-ring measurements of living and historic firs from Southern Moravia. This unique paleoclimatic compilation together with innovative reconstruction methods and error estimates allows regional-scale May-June drought variability to be estimated back to ad 1500. Driest and wettest conditions occurred in 1653 and 1713, respectively. The ten wettest decades are evenly distributed throughout time, whereas the driest episodes occurred in the seventeenth century and from the 1840s onward. Discussion emphasizes agreement between the new reconstruction and documentary evidence, and stresses possible sources of reconstruction uncertainty including station inhomogeneity, limited frequency preservation, reduced climate sensitivity, and large-scale constraints. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source


Buntgen U.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Buntgen U.,Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research | Tegel W.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Heussner K.-U.,German Archaeological Institute DAI | And 4 more authors.
Climate Research | Year: 2012

Uncertainty related to the rate and magnitude of predicted anthropogenic climate change highlights the need to enhance our understanding of past natural fluctuations in the Earth's climate system. This task emphasizes the importance of high-resolution palaeoclimatic records that cover industrial and pre-industrial times. Annually resolved and absolutely dated tree-ring measurements are a key input for cross-disciplinary research. Ambiguity due to paucity of data, however, characterizes many tree-ring data analyses. By utilizing nearly 12 000 living and historical ring width series from European fir Abies alba Mill., we demonstrate how massive sample replication can generate robust estimates of past growth rates, which may help reduce methodological and statistical constraints associated with many traditional tree-ring studies. © Inter-Research 2012. Source


Buntgen U.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Buntgen U.,Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research | Brazdil R.,Masaryk University | Brazdil R.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 7 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2011

A predicted rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and associated effects on the Earth's climate system likely imply more frequent and severe weather extremes with alternations in hydroclimatic parameters expected to be most critical for ecosystem functioning, agricultural yield, and human health. Evaluating the return period and amplitude of modern climatic extremes in light of pre-industrial natural changes is, however, limited by generally too short instrumental meteorological observations. Here we introduce and analyze 11,873 annually resolved and absolutely dated ring width measurement series from living and historical fir (Abies alba Mill.) trees sampled across France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, which continuously span the AD 962-2007 period. Even though a dominant climatic driver of European fir growth was not found, ring width extremes were evidently triggered by anomalous variations in Central European April-June precipitation. Wet conditions were associated with dynamic low-pressure cells, whereas continental-scale droughts coincided with persistent high-pressure between 35 and 55°N. Documentary evidence independently confirms many of the dendro signals over the past millennium, and further provides insight on causes and consequences of ambient weather conditions related to the reconstructed extremes. A fairly uniform distribution of hydroclimatic extremes throughout the Medieval Climate Anomaly, Little Ice Age and Recent Global Warming may question the common believe that frequency and severity of such events closely relates to climate mean stages. This joint dendro-documentary approach not only allows extreme climate conditions of the industrial era to be placed against the backdrop of natural variations, but also probably helps to constrain climate model simulations over exceptional long timescales. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Buntgen U.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Buntgen U.,Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research | Buntgen U.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Tegel W.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | And 19 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2014

Forest decline played a pivotal role in motivating Europe's political focus on sustainability around 35 years ago. Silver fir (Abies alba) exhibited a particularly severe dieback in the mid-1970s, but disentangling biotic from abiotic drivers remained challenging because both spatial and temporal data were lacking. Here, we analyze 14 136 samples from living trees and historical timbers, together with 356 pollen records, to evaluate recent fir growth from a continent-wide and Holocene-long perspective. Land use and climate change influenced forest growth over the past millennium, whereas anthropogenic emissions of acidic sulfates and nitrates became important after about 1850. Pollution control since the 1980s, together with a warmer but not drier climate, has facilitated an unprecedented surge in productivity across Central European fir stands. Restricted fir distribution prior to the Mesolithic and again in the Modern Era, separated by a peak in abundance during the Bronze Age, is indicative of the long-term interplay of changing temperatures, shifts in the hydrological cycle, and human impacts that have shaped forest structure and productivity. © The Ecological Society of America. Source

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