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A multi-century reconstruction of southeastern US summer quasi-stationary precipitation using tree-ring data

Authors: Tyler J. Mitchell*, UNC Greensboro, Paul A. Knapp, UNC Greensboro, Thomas W. Patterson, University of Southern Mississippi
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Paleoenvironmental Change
Keywords: summer precipitation, climatology, dendroclimatology, southeastern United States, longleaf pine
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


We examined short- and long-term changes in precipitation event types using instrumental (1940–2018) and tree-ring (1790–2018) data from North Carolina, USA. We documented the amount and frequency of summer(July–September) precipitation events using daily weather station data. Stationary front precipitation (SFP) represented 71% of total summer rainfall and SFP and convective uplift combined (i.e., quasi-stationary precipitation, QSP) represented 87%. SFP(r = 0.52, p<0.01) and QSP (r = 0.61,p < 0.01) precipitation reconstructions from a montane longleaf pine latewood chronology both recorded significant declines during 1940–2018, matching the instrumental record. Conversely, no significant change in either SFP or QSP occurred during the full reconstruction indicating the instrumental decline was unmatched throughout 1790–1939. Our method demonstrates that variations in latewood growth can be attributed to specific precipitation event types and that the relative contribution of each event type can be quantified over a multi-century period.

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