Articles | Volume 13, issue 2
Research article
09 Feb 2017
Research article |  | 09 Feb 2017

Temperature variability in the Iberian Range since 1602 inferred from tree-ring records

Ernesto Tejedor, Miguel Ángel Saz, José María Cuadrat, Jan Esper, and Martín de Luis

Abstract. Tree rings are an important proxy to understand the natural drivers of climate variability in the Mediterranean Basin and hence to improve future climate scenarios in a vulnerable region. Here, we compile 316 tree-ring width series from 11 conifer sites in the western Iberian Range. We apply a new standardization method based on the trunk basal area instead of the tree cambial age to develop a regional chronology which preserves high- to low-frequency variability. A new reconstruction for the 1602–2012 period correlates at −0.78 with observational September temperatures with a cumulative mean of the 21 previous months over the 1945–2012 calibration period. The new IR2Tmax reconstruction is spatially representative for the Iberian Peninsula and captures the full range of past Iberian Range temperature variability. Reconstructed long-term temperature variations match reasonably well with solar irradiance changes since warm and cold phases correspond with high and low solar activity, respectively. In addition, some annual temperature downturns coincide with volcanic eruptions with a 3-year lag.

Short summary
Through this study, and inferred from 316 series of tree-ring width, we developed a maximum temperature reconstruction that is significant for much of the Iberian Peninsula (IP). This reconstruction will not only help to understand the past climate of the IP but also serve to improve future climate change scenarios particularly affecting the Mediterranean area.