PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 343-356.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.02.014

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Advances of study on the relationship between tree-ring density and climate and climate reconstruction

DENG Guofu1,2, LI Mingqi1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-04-20 Revised:2020-08-21 Online:2021-02-28 Published:2021-04-28
  • Contact: LI Mingqi
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No(41977391);National Natural Science Foundation of China, No(41630529);National Natural Science Foundation of China, No(41571194)


Tree-ring density is one of the important proxies for climate reconstruction. In the past few decades, international and Chinese scholars have carried out a large number of studies on the relationship between tree-ring density and climate, and many climate series were reconstructed for different regions. In this study, we collected publications about the responses to climate change and climate reconstruction based on tree ring density, and reviewed some progresses in these areas. Although the relationship between tree-ring density and the climate may be affected by tree species, terrain (altitude, slope direction, and so on), and other factors, the maximum latewood density is a well-known proxy of summer or early fall temperature variation in cold and moist areas, while earlywood density can be used to reconstruct precipitation variation in arid areas. Therefore, most of the scholars reconstructed the temperature of the summer or the late fall, and only few precipitation and sea level pressure series were reconstructed based on tree-ring density. In addition, the variance that the reconstruction can explain varies from region to region, and from tree species to species. To date, the reconstruction series spanned 2018 years in Europe, which is the longest in the world, and 449 years in Southwest China, which is the longest series in China. There still exist controversies around the divergence in tree-ring density response to temperature and the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions, because of the unstable relationship between tree-ring density and temperature. Future research should pay more attention to the relationship between tree-ring density and other climate variables such as precipitation and light, and the influence of nonclimatic factors such as altitude, tree species, and experimental methods.

Key words: tree-ring density, climate change, temperature reconstruction, volcanic eruption