Process based model sheds light on climate sensitivity of Mediterranean tree-ring width

R. Touchan, V. V. Shishov, D. M. Meko, I. Nouiri, A. Grachev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We use the process-based VS (Vaganov-Shashkin) model to investigate whether a regional Pinus halepensis tree-ring chronology from Tunisia can be simulated as a function of climate alone by employing a biological model linking day length and daily temperature and precipitation (AD 1959-2004) from a climate station to ring-width variations. We check performance of the model on independent data by a validation exercise in which the model's parameters are tuned using data for 1982-2004 and the model is applied to generate tree-ring indices for 1959-1981. The validation exercise yields a highly significant positive correlation between the residual chronology and estimated growth curve (rCombining double low line0.76 p<0.0001, n = 23). The model shows that the average duration of the growing season is 191 days, with considerable variation from year to year. On average, soil moisture limits tree-ring growth for 128 days and temperature for 63 days. Model results depend on chosen values of parameters, in particular a parameter specifying a balance ratio between soil moisture and precipitation. Future work in the Mediterranean region should include multi-year natural experiments to verify patterns of cambial-growth variation suggested by the VS model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-972
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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