Timing and Order of Extreme Drought and Wetness Determine Bioclimatic Sensitivity of Tree Growth

Xiuchen Wu, Hongyan Liu, Henrik Hartmann, Philippe Ciais, John S. Kimball, Christopher R. Schwalm, Jesús Julio Camarero, Anping Chen, Pierre Gentine, Yuting Yang, Shulei Zhang, Xiaoyan Li, Chongyang Xu, Wen Zhang, Zongshan Li, Deliang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Tree resistance to extreme droughts and post-drought recovery are sensitive to the drought timing. However, how the bioclimatic sensitivity of tree growth may vary with the timing and order of extreme droughts and wetness is still poorly understood. Here, we quantified the bioclimatic sensitivity of tree growth in the period of 1951–2013 under different seasonal extreme drought/wetness regimes over the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere, using 1,032 tree ring chronologies from 121 gymnosperm and angiosperm species. We found a negative asymmetry in tree growth under regimes with seasonal extreme droughts. With extreme drought, tree growth in arid and temperate dry regions is more negatively impacted by pre-growing-season (PGS) extreme droughts. Clade-wise, angiosperms are more sensitive to PGS water availability, and gymnosperms to legacy effects of the preceding tree growth conditions in temperate dry and humid regions. Our finding of divergent bioclimatic legacy effects underscores contrasting trends in forest responses to drought across different ecoregions and functional groups in a more extreme climate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021EF002530
JournalEarth's Future
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • bioclimatic sensitivity
  • drought
  • legacy effects
  • resilience
  • seasonal extreme climate regime
  • tree ring


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