Articles | Volume 11, issue 8
Research article
26 Aug 2015
Research article |  | 26 Aug 2015

Optimal ranking regime analysis of TreeFlow dendrohydrological reconstructions

S. A. Mauget

Abstract. The optimal ranking regime (ORR) method was used to identify 6–100-year time windows containing significant ranking sequences in 55 western US streamflow reconstructions, and reconstructions of the level of the Great Salt Lake and San Francisco Bay salinity during 1500–2007. The method's ability to identify optimally significant and non-overlapping runs of low- and high-rankings allows it to re-express a reconstruction time series as a simplified sequence of regime segments marking intra- to multi-decadal (IMD) periods of low or high streamflow, lake level, and salinity. Those ORR sequences, referred to here as Z-lines, can be plotted to identify consistent regime patterns in the analysis of numerous reconstructions. The Z-lines for the 57 reconstructions evaluated here show a common pattern of IMD cycles of drought and pluvial periods during the late 16th and 17th centuries, a relatively dormant period during the 18th century, and the reappearance of alternating dry and wet IMD periods during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although this pattern suggests the possibility of similarly active and inactive oceanic modes in the North Pacific and North Atlantic, such centennial-scale patterns are not evident in the ORR analyses of reconstructed Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), El Niño–Southern Oscillation, and North Atlantic sea-surface temperature variation. However, given the inconsistency in the analyses of four PDO reconstructions, the possible role of centennial-scale oceanic mechanisms is uncertain. In future research the ORR method might be applied to climate reconstructions around the Pacific Basin to try to resolve this uncertainty. Given its ability to compare regime patterns in climate reconstructions derived using different methods and proxies, the method may also be used in future research to evaluate long-term regional temperature reconstructions.

Short summary
A new approach to time series analysis - the ORR method - was used to evaluate reconstructed western US streamflow records during 1500-2007. This method shows an interesting pattern of alternating drought and wet periods during the late 16th and 17th centuries, a period with relatively few drought or wet periods during the 18th century, and the and the reappearance of alternating dry and wet periods during the 19th and early 20th centuries.