A 211-year moisture reconstruction in southern Quebec based on snowpack-sensitive trees
We present a 211-year tree-ring-based reconstruction of the annual mean flow of the Sainte Anne River, Gaspésie, Québec, Canada. The river traverses through the interior of the Gaspé Peninsula where the instrumental hydrological and climatic records are particularly short. This is the first streamflow/soil moisture reconstruction between the Hudson River and north-central Québec, filling a substantial geographical gap along the eastern North American margin, and adding to the only three existing river reconstructions of the Atlantic coast. Our skillful nested reconstruction (maximum R2 = 0.61, maximum RE = 0.36) is based upon eight site chronologies from locations where high snowpack limits the length of the growing season and the energy available to trees. Although energy-limited tree-ring chronologies are well-known in western North America, we find the first energy-limited snow proxy sites in eastern North America, in this region noted for its high snowfall. We found sustained periods of low flows and high flows not captured in the relatively short instrumental record. This Gaspésie reconstruction shows drought and pluvial synchronicities in common with multi-centennial-length river/soil moisture reconstructions from along the Atlantic Seaboard from New York, Delaware and Maryland, as well as with net basin water supply reconstructions from much closer north-central Québec. The Sainte Anne River is an important salmon fishing river located in the Parc national de la Gaspésie (PNG). The PNG is the last refuge south of the St. Lawrence River of the once-common woodland caribou, and the troop in the PNG are critically endangered. Hence, our reconstruction is of interest to wildlife and fisheries managers.