A new drought tipping point for conifer mortality

Thomas E. Kolb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


(Huang et al 2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 024011) present a method for predicting mortality of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) in the Southwestern US during severe drought based on the relationship between the standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and annual tree ring growth. Ring growth was zero when SPEI for September to July was -1.64. The threshold SPEI of -1.64 was successful in distinguishing areas with high tree mortality during recent severe drought from areas with low mortality, and is proposed to be a tipping point of drought severity leading to tree mortality. Below, I discuss this work in more detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031002
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • climate change
  • drought
  • tree mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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