Extreme pointer years in tree-ring records of Central Spain as evidence of climatic events and the eruption of the Huaynaputina Volcano (Peru, 1600 AD)
Abstract. The study of pointer years of numerous tree-ring chronologies of the central Iberian Peninsula (Sierra de Guadarrama) could provide complementary information about climate variability over the last 405 yr. In total, 64 pointer years have been identified: 30 negative (representing minimum growths) and 34 positive (representing maximum growths), the most significant of these being 1601, 1963 and 1996 for the negative ones, and 1734 and 1737 for the positive ones. Given that summer precipitation was found to be the most limiting factor for the growth of Pinus in the Sierra de Guadarrama in the second half of the 20th century, it is also an explanatory factor in almost 50% of the extreme growths. Furthermore, these pointer years and intervals are not evenly distributed throughout time. Both in the first half of the 17th and in the second half of 20th, they were more frequent and more extreme and these periods are the most notable for the frequency of negative pointer years in Central Spain. The interval 1600–1602 is of special significance, being one of the most unfavourable for tree growth in the centre of Spain, with 1601 representing the minimum index in the regional chronology. We infer that this special minimum annual increase was the effect of the eruption of Huaynaputina, which occurred in Peru at the beginning of 1600 AD. This is the first time that the effects of this eruption in the tree-ring records of Southern Europe have been demonstrated.