Although global warming is an indisputable fact, there is still uncertainty about how climate change will occur at regional levels. Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. To best manage this country's limited water resources, socio-economic development and environmental protection, a solid understanding of regional climate change impacts is needed. In this study, tree-ring width and δ13C chronologies were established based on 99 tree-ring samples of Schrenk spruce (Picea schrenkiana Fisch. et Mey.) collected in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Climate response analysis between the tree-ring chronologies and climate data indicates that summer mean temperature is the strongest climate signal recorded by tree-ring δ13C. We reconstructed temperature change in southern Kazakhstan since 1850 C.E. using the tree-ring δ13Ccorr chronology. The results show that the temperatures in southern Kazakhstan have risen at a rate of about 0.27 °C per decade over the past 166 years. However, the rate has increased by as much as 0.44 °C per decade over the past 30 years. Analyses of temperature and precipitation data show that the climate has alternated between warm-dry and cold-humid periods over the past 166 years. The extreme droughts of 1879, 1917 and 1945 were caused by the combination of continuously high temperatures and reduced precipitation.
Keywords: Dendroclimatology; Temperature reconstruction; Tianshan Mountains; Tree-ring; δ13C.