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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Feb 2019

Research article | 04 Feb 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Annually resolved δ2H tree-ring chronology of the lignin methoxyl groups from Germany reflects averaged Western European surface air temperature changes

Tobias Anhäuser1, Birgit Sehls1, Werner Thomas2, Claudia Hartl3, Markus Greule1, Denis Scholz4, Jan Esper3, and Frank Keppler1,5 Tobias Anhäuser et al.
  • 1Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 236, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2Deutscher Wetterdienst, Meteorological Observatory station Hohenpeißenberg, Germany, Albin-Schwaiger-Weg 10, 82383 Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 3Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Johann-Joachim-Becher-Weg 21, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 4Institute of Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, Johann-Joachim-Becher-Weg 21, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 5Heidelberg Center for the Environment HCE, Heidelberg University, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract. Stable hydrogen isotopes ratios of lignin methoxyl groups (expressed as δ2HLM) of wood have been shown to reflect the climate-sensitive δ2H values of precipitation (expressed as δ2Hprecip) modulated by a large uniform negative isotope fractionation. However, a detailed calibration study among temporal variabilities of δ2HLM in tree-ring series, site-specific δ2Hprecip and climate parameters has not been performed yet. Here, we present annually resolved δ2HLM values from nine tree-ring series (derived from four Fagus sylvatica L. trees) collected near stations of the Global Isotope Network of Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) and the Deutsche Wetterdienst (DWD) meteorological observatory at Hohenpeißenberg (southern Germany; ~ 48° N, 11° E). The measured nine δ2HLM tree-ring series (common period of overlap 1916-2015) show a strong coherency as indicated by highly significant (p < 0.001) inter-series correlations (mean value Rbar = 0.52) and no indication of any known (stable isotope-specific) juvenile trend affecting the first decades of growth. When compared to local instrumental data, the combined δ2HLM chronology shows highest correlations with annually averaged data of δ2Hprecip as well as temperature particularly when using the year defined from previous September to current August (r = 0.73 and 0.56, respectively, p < 0.001). However, the Hohenpeißenberg δ2HLM chronology shows enhanced correlations with land and sea surface air temperature for multiple (broadly combined) areas across Western Europe (r > 0.6, p < 0.1). We subsequently established a linear regression model between averaged Western European surface air temperatures (range: 30° W–20° E, 35–60° N) and the δ2HLM chronology (r = 0.71, p < 0.001). When comparing instrumental and reconstructed large-scale temperature anomalies from the year 1916 to 2015, an average absolute deviation in annual reconstructions of as low as 0.3 °C was found (n = 100). Therefore, δ2HLM values of mid-latitudinal tree-ring archives are considered suitable for large-scale mean annual temperature reconstructions and are therefore able to improve the paleoclimatic potential of Late Holocene tree-ring archives.

Tobias Anhäuser et al.
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Tobias Anhäuser et al.
Tobias Anhäuser et al.
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