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Mixed signals, mixed messages and lessons from bristlecone pine
Presented by Prof. Malcolm HUGHES on 15 May 2013 from 17:10 to 17:30
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Climate of Recent Millennia II
Track: Climate of recent millennia
The dendroclimatology of Pinus longaeva tree rings has six decades of history. The attractions are clear: the longevity of the trees (~5000 years), the persistence of relict wood (~10,000 years), and their strong cross-dating. The work is complex however, as the high, cold, dry growth conditions can make it hard to disentangle temperature and moisture signals. Further, confusion has been unwittingly added by traditional dendroclimatological methods. Customary standardization led to mistaken emphasis on the stripbark growth form. The site chronology concept obscured the temperature signal near the species’ upper elevation limits, as well as diverting attention to a likely incorrect hypothesis of carbon dioxide fertilization. Here we show how these obstacles have been overcome by going back to first principles, resulting in much new and unexpected information on the climate of the Great Basin (hydroclimate as well as temperature) in a global context for the mid-and late Holocene.