Does signal-free detrending increase chronology coherence in large tree-ring networks?

M. Y. McPartland, S. St. George, Gregory T. Pederson, Kevin J. Anchukaitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Over the past decade, dendrochronologists have increasingly adopted the signal-free detrending (SFD) method to remove age-size trends in tree-ring measurement series, amplify the common stand-wide signal in composite chronologies, and recover medium- to low-frequency patterns that may be inadvertently removed by other detrending approaches. However, since its introduction in 2008, no systematic evaluation of the effects of SFD on tree-ring chronologies has been performed. Here we conduct the first review of SFD in dendrochronology and assess its effects when applied to large tree-ring networks. We analyzed the PAGES North America 2 K database of nearly 300 temperature-sensitive chronologies and the Missouri River database of over 350 chronologies curated for the purpose of reconstructing Missouri River streamflow. Both databases contain multiple versions of each chronology generated by different detrending methods, including those produced with (and without) the signal-free procedure applied. We evaluated (i) whether SFD increases chronology coherence at the site level by boosting the between-tree agreement, (ii) whether SFD increases coherence on a regional basis by making neighboring chronologies more similar to each other, and (iii) whether signal-free chronologies retained more medium- to low-frequency variability than their traditional counterparts. We find that, while SFD increased the strength of common signals in many instances, the effect was not universal and some sites even show a decrease in signal coherence. At regional scales, SFD increases chronology coherence in temperature-sensitive records but had no detectable effect on moisture-sensitive records. Our results demonstrate the importance of evaluating the effects of SFD prior to deploying this method for chronology development and paleoclimate reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125755
JournalDendrochronologia
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Nick McKay at Northern Arizona University for access to the PAGES database. We would also like to thank Drs. Dan Griffin, Toby Ault, and Kurt Kipfmueller for their input and ideas on this topic. This research was funded under National Science Foundation grant number 16025212: Quantifying the risk of widespread megadrought in North America. K.J.A acknowledges support from NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences?1304262 and Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences?1803995. Funding to compile the PAGES NAm2?K dataset was provided by the USGS Powell Center for Synthesis and Analysis. Additional funding for M.Y.M was provided by the University of Minnesota Department of Geography, Environment & Society. This paper is a contribution to the PAGES 2k Network, a working group of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) project that is funded by the Swiss Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Nick McKay at Northern Arizona University for access to the PAGES database. We would also like to thank Drs. Dan Griffin, Toby Ault, and Kurt Kipfmueller for their input and ideas on this topic. This research was funded under National Science Foundation grant number 16025212 : Quantifying the risk of widespread megadrought in North America. K.J.A acknowledges support from NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences   1304262 and Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences   1803995 . Funding to compile the PAGES NAm2 K dataset was provided by the USGS Powell Center for Synthesis and Analysis. Additional funding for M.Y.M was provided by the University of Minnesota Department of Geography, Environment & Society. This paper is a contribution to the PAGES 2k Network, a working group of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) project that is funded by the Swiss Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences . Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier GmbH

Keywords

  • Dendrochronology
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Signal-free detrending
  • Tree-rings

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