Different climate responses of spruce and pine growth in Northern European Russia

Malcolm K. Hughes, Alexander Olchev, Andrew G. Bunn, Logan T. Berner, Mark Losleben, Elena Novenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We report new data on tree-ring growth in northern European Russia, a region with a hitherto relatively sparse tree-ring network. We explore its associations with climate variability. Areas, sampling locations and trees were selected for representativeness rather than climate sensitivity. Using tree rings from 651 conifers from six widely dispersed areas we show strong intercorrelation between trees within each major conifer species within and between areas. Regional composite tree-ring series for spruce and pine contain a major fraction of decadal and multidecadal variability. The most likely driver of this common variability is interannual to multidecadal climate variability. Gridded monthly instrumental climate data for the period 1902–2008, particularly mean temperature and total precipitation, were tested as predictors of each local species-specific tree-ring site chronology. The most consistent pattern emerged for spruce at all but the southernmost area. Cool and moist summers the year before growth were consistent drivers of spruce ring growth throughout the period, with no change in recent decades. Self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index for prior summer was also a strong and consistent driver of spruce ring growth. For pine, there was a weaker but similarly stable association between larger rings and warm, moist conditions, in this case in the current summer. These associations were also identified at multidecadal time scales, particularly for spruce. On the other hand, the specific role of moisture variability in determining interannual to multidecadal variability in tree growth in this high latitude region raises questions about the relative vulnerability of spruce and pine there under global warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125601
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Climate
  • Larch
  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Taiga
  • Tree-ring width

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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