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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Feb 2020

07 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Reconstruction of multi-millennial summer climate variations in central Japan by integrating tree-ring cellulose oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios

Takeshi Nakatsuka1,2, Masaki Sano1,3, Zhen Li1,2, Chenxi Xu1,4, Akane Tsushima1, Yuki Shigeoka2, Kenjiro Sho5, Keiko Ohnishi6, Minoru Sakamoto7, Hiromasa Ozaki7,8, Noboru Higami9, Nanae Nakao10,11, Misao Yokoyama12, and Takumi Mitsutani13 Takeshi Nakatsuka et al.
  • 1Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan
  • 2Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
  • 3Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa 359-1192, Japan
  • 4Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 5Department of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Industrial Management Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Nagoya 466-8555, Japan
  • 6Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0819, Japan
  • 7National Museum of Japanese History, Sakura 285-8502, Japan
  • 8The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
  • 9Aichi Prefectural Center for Archaeological Operations, Yatomi 498-0017, Japan
  • 10Research Center, Musashi University, Tokyo 176-8534, Japan
  • 11Faculty of Science, Yamagata University, Yamagata 990-8560, Japan
  • 12Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
  • 13Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara 630-8577, Japan

Abstract. Oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) of tree-ring cellulose are a novel proxy of summer hydroclimate in monsoonal Asia. In central Japan, we collected 67 conifer wood samples, mainly Chamaecyparis obtusa, with ages encompassing the past 2,600 yr. The samples were taken from living old trees, excavated archeological wood, old architectural wood, and naturally buried logs. We analyzed stable isotope ratios of oxygen (δ18O) and hydrogen (δ2H) in tree-ring cellulose in these samples without using a pooling method, and constructed a statistically reliable tree-ring cellulose δ18O time-series for the past 2,500 yr. However, there were distinct age trends and level offsets in the δ18O record, and cellulose δ18O values showed a gradual decrease as an individual tree matures. This suggested it is difficult to establish a cellulose δ18O chronology for low-frequency signals by simple averaging of all the δ18O time-series data. However, there were opposite age trends in the cellulose δ2H, and δ2H gradually increased with tree age. There were clear positive correlations in the short periodicity variations between δ18O and δ2H, probably indicating a common climate signal. A comparison of the δ18O and δ2H time-series in individual trees with tree-ring width suggested that the opposite age trends of δ18O and δ2H are caused by temporal changes in the degree of post-photosynthetic isotope exchange with xylem water, accompanied by changes in stem growth rate (growth effect) that are influenced by human activity in the forests of central Japan. Based on the assumptions that cellulose δ18O and δ2H vary positively and negatively with constant proportional coefficients due to climate variations and the growth effect, respectively, we solved simultaneous equations for the climatological and physiological components of variations in tree-ring cellulose δ18O and δ2H in order to remove the age trend (growth effect). This enabled us to evaluate the climatic record from cellulose δ18O variations. The extracted climatological component in the cellulose δ18O for the past 2,600 yr in central Japan was well correlated with numerous instrumental, historical, and paleoclimatological records of past summer climate at various spatial and temporal scales. This indicates that integration of tree-ring cellulose δ18O and δ2H data is a promising method to reconstruct past summer climate variations on annual to millennial time-scales, irrespective of the growth affect. However, analytical and statistical methods need to be improved for further development of this climate proxy.

Takeshi Nakatsuka et al.

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Takeshi Nakatsuka et al.

Takeshi Nakatsuka et al.


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Latest update: 24 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In general, it is not easy to reconstruct past climate variations over a wide band of frequencies using a single proxy. Here, we propose a new method to reconstruct past summer climate seamlessly from annual to millennial time scales by integrating tree-ring cellulose oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios. The result can be utilized to investigate various scales of climatological phenomena in the past and climate-society relationships in long human history.
In general, it is not easy to reconstruct past climate variations over a wide band of...