Here we reconstructed evaporation using tree-ring width variability. Drought variability and its effects on forest growth have been mainly characterized by changes in precipitation and temperatures, whereas atmospheric drought and evaporation rates have been little investigated. The area of study corresponds to northern Mexico, a region where water resources are increasingly limited. We used correlation analyses to identify the months in which evaporation is most strongly related to tree-ring width series. Then, we built a linear regression model to predict seasonal winter-to-spring evaporation as a function of ring-width indices. Correlation analyses showed that the radial growth of P. cooperi decreased in response to reduced water availability and increased evaporation during the winter prior to the growing season, and also during spring and the early summer of the year of tree-ring formation. Pine growth mainly benefitted from wet and cool conditions from winter to early spring. Linear regression models used in reconstruction were statistically robust and allowed reconstructing January-to-April evaporation for the period 1900–2010. Our study contributes to a better understanding of historical changes in evaporation in northern Mexico and, most importantly, it also emphasizes how atmospheric moisture demand is linked to tree growth.
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Vol. 71 • No. 2