• Paleoclimatic Analyses of Tree-Ring Reconstructed Summer Drought in the United States, 1700-1978

      Fye, Falko K.; Cleaveland, Malcolm K.; Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR (Tree-Ring Society, 2001)
      A 155-point US grid of tree-ring reconstructed summer (JJA; Cook et al. 1996) averaged Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) was used to document the history and investigate the external forcing of growingseason climate anomalies for the period 1700 to 1978. Statistical analysis software was used to composite years temporally by computing averages for the years of known dates of major potential climate-forcing events. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to display the composites as well as individual years. The forcing factors investigated were the 22-year Hale solar magnetic cycle, major El Niño (warm) and La Niña (cold) events based on the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), and large magnitude low latitude volcanic eruptions. Positive and negative moisture anomalies appear around Iowa in the alternate 11-year sunspot cycles that make up the Hale solar magnetic cycle. Experimentation with the grouping of years in the Hale cycle composites led to unexplained spatial shifts of the moisture anomalies in the same region. The El Niño episodes usually show positive (wet) PDSI anomalies in the Southwest from California to Texas, while La Niña events usually have drought in the same area, with some inconsistent signals in the north central Plains and the Northwest. The eastern and northern US were unaffected by the Southern Oscillation, although the summer season reconstructed PDSI may have missed the SOI variation, which is primarily a winter signal. The three largest tropical volcanic eruptions since 1800 failed to follow a consistent pattern, but the 1815 eruption of Tambora in Indonesia was followed by a very strong positive growth anomaly in the Southwest in 1816 and 1817. Important regional studies with the winter-spring season could be done with this network of tree-ring chronologies and observed monthly PDSI data.