A North Tropical Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Reconstruction from the Dominican Republic Using Pinus occidentalis
The Caribbean, like much of the tropics, is underrepresented by tree-ring chronologies making global climate reconstructions a challenge because of these blind spots. We have developed a multi-centennial tree-ring chronology from 120 samples of Pinus occidentalis trees located above 2800 m elevation on the dry slopes of Loma la Pelona in the Cordillera Central (19.035278 N, -71.005278 W) of the Dominican Republic. We used skeleton plotting on multiple radii from each crossection to date the samples and checked our dating with COFECHA. Climate response of these trees was tested using monthly temperature and precipitation data and with the Palmer Drought Severity Index calculated for meteorological data from the town of Constanza, located at 1160 m elevation 62 km ESE of the sampling site. Climate response was also compared with proxy records of sea surface temperature from Caribbean sites. The chronology correlates positively with rainfall days during the late dormant season on the windward mountain flank, and negatively with early growing season temperature on the leeward flank. One of our strongest responses is with February North Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature with 24% variance explained. We also used 14C to date seven samples of older remnant wood preserved on a block field to obtain an idea of how long of a chronology might be possible and found ages of up to 930 years. Further work to collect more old wood from this site could yield a millennial length chronology that is sensitive to Atlantic sea surface temperature.