A 389-yrs precipitation changes in the Northern South American Altiplano reveals an increase in extreme drought events s
Given the short span of instrumental hydroclimatic records in the South American Altiplano, longer time records are needed to understand the nature of climate variability and to improve the predictability of precipitation, a key factor modulating the socio-economic development in the Altiplano and adjacent arid lowlands. In this region growths P. tarapacana, a long-lived tree species being very sensitive to hydroclimatic changes and widely used for tree-ring studies in central and southern Altiplano. However, exist a gap of hydroclimatic tree-ring records in the northern sector of the Peruvian and Chilean Altiplano (16º-19ºS). Our study provides an overview of the climate of the northern Altiplano (NA) through the identification of long-term wet or dry periods and the temporal evolution in annual precipitation during the last ~four centuries. An increase in the frequency occurrence of extreme dry events have been recorded since the second half of the 20th century in the NA within the context of the last ~four centuries. This is in agreement with the reported increase in the occurrence of extreme climate events in different parts of the world under the current global warming scenario. The persistent drought/wet periods recorded over the past 389 years are highly consistent with evidence from the paleoclimatic records available in the region. We highlight the temporal and spatial synchrony of drought conditions since 1980s recorded by different tree-ring based hydroclimate reconstructions across the Altiplano region. This information together with the growing demand for water is essential to understand the vulnerability/resilience of the region to the projected evapotranspiration increase for the 21st century.