Advertisement

Tree-ring variables as proxy-climate indicators: Problems with low-frequency signals

Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 41)

Abstract

In recent years there has been a notable increase in the number of research projects engaged in building supra-long (multi-millennial) tree-ring chronologies. Together with a growing awareness of the potential for anthropogenic climate change, this work is shifting the focus of dendroclimatology. Instead of a more traditional interpretation of tree-ring data in terms of annual-to-decadal timescale climate variability the emphasis is increasingly placed on century timescale changes. We review a number of problems with the interpretation of low-frequency climate change in tree-ring derived data. Perhaps the most significant is the high-pass filtering effect of “standardization” techniques commonly used in chronology construction to remove age-related sample bias in the original tree growth measurement data. These techniques effectively remove low-frequency variability and with it the evidence of long-term climate change. Other forcings may also be ‘corrupting’ the climate signal in the recent period (that used for calibrating the climate signal). Differences in the origin of the samples or changes in site ecology may also impart an inhomogeneity in the response of tree growth through time, hence violating the fundamental assumption of uniformitarianism that underpins proxy climate research.

Keywords

Tree Growth Tree Ring Regional Curve Standardization Maximum Latewood Density Dendroclimatic Reconstruction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aniol RW, Eckstein D (1984) Dendroclimatological studies at the northern timberline. In Mörner N-A, Karlén W (eds) Climate Changes on a Yearly to Millennial basis. Reidel, Dordrecht, 273–279Google Scholar
  2. Baillie MGL (1982) Tree-Ring Dating and Archaelology. Croom Helm, London Bartholin TS (1987) Dendrochronology in Sweden. Annales Academici Scientiarum Fennicae AIII 145: 79–88Google Scholar
  3. Bartholin TS, Karlen W (1983) Dendrokronologie i Lapland. Dendrokronologiska Sällskapel Meddelanden 5: 1–6Google Scholar
  4. Bartholin TS (1987) Dendrochronology in Sweden. Annales Academici Scientiarum Fennicae AM 145: 79–88Google Scholar
  5. Becker M (1989) The role of climate on present and past vitality of silver fir forests in the Vosges mountains of northeastern France. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 19: 1110–1117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becker M, Bert GD, Bouchon J, Dupouey JL, Picard JF, Ulrich E (1995) Long-term changes in forest productivity in northeastern France: the dendro-ecological approach. In Landmann G, Bonneau M (eds) Forest Decline and Atmospheric Deposition Effects in the French Mountains. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 143–156Google Scholar
  7. Bradley RS, Jones PD (1993) ‘Little Ice Age’ summer temperature variations: their nature and relevance to recent global warming trends. The Holocene 3: 367–376Google Scholar
  8. Bräker OU (1981) Der alterstrend bei jahrringdichten und jahrinngbreiten von nadelhözern un sein ausgleich. Mitt. Forstl. Budes-Vers.-Anst. 142: 75–102Google Scholar
  9. Briffa KR (1984) Tree-climate Relationships and Dendroclimatological Reconstruction in the British Isles. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of East Anglia, U.KGoogle Scholar
  10. Briffa KR (1990) Increasing productivity of ‘natural growth’ conifers in Europe over the last century. In Bartholin TS, Berglund BE, Eckstein D, Schweingruber FH (eds) Tree Rings and Environment. LUNDQUA Report 34, Lund University, 64–71Google Scholar
  11. Briffa KR (1995) Statistical aspects of high-resolution proxy climate data: the example of dendroclimatology. In von Storch H, Navarra A (eds) Analysis of Climate Variability: Applications of Statistical Techniques. Springer, Berlin, 77–94Google Scholar
  12. Briffa KR, Jones PD (1990) Basic chronology statistics and assessment. In Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (eds) Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in the Environmental Sciences. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 137–152Google Scholar
  13. Briffa KR, Jones PD (1993) Global surface air temperature variations during the twentieth century: Part 2, implications for large-scale high-frequency palaeoclimatic studies. The Holocene 3: 77–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Briffa KR, Jones PD, Wigley TML, Pilcher JR, Baillie MGL (1986) Climate reconstruction from tree rings: Part 2, spatial reconstruction of summer mean sea level pressure patterns over Great Britain. Journal of Climatology 6: 1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Briffa KR, Bartholin T, Eckstein D, Jones PD, Karlén W, Schweingruber FH, Zetterberg P (1990) A 1,400-year tree-ring record of summer temperatures in Fennoscandia. Nature 346: 434–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Briffa KR, Jones PD, Bartholin TS, Eckstein D, Schweingruber FH, Karlén W, Zetterberg P, Eronen M (1992a) Fennoscandian summers from A.D. 500: temperature changes on short and long timescales. Climate Dynamics 7: 111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Briffa KR, Jones PD, Schweingruber FH (1992b) Tree-ring density reconstructions of summer temperature patterns across western north America since 1600. Journal of Climate 5: 735–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Briffa KR, Jones PD, Schweingruber FH, Shiyatov SG, Cook ER (1995) Unusual twentieth-century warmth in a 1,000-year temperature record from Siberia. Nature 376: 156–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cook ER (1992) Using tree rings to study past El Niño/Southern Oscillation influences on climate. In Diaz HF, Markgraf V (eds) El Niño: Historical and Paleoclimatic Aspects of the Southern Oscillation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 203–214Google Scholar
  20. Cook ER, Briffa KR (1990) A comparison of some tree-ring standardization methods. In Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (eds) Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in the Environmental Sciences. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 153–162Google Scholar
  21. Cook ER, Briffa KR, Shiyatov SG, Mazepa VS (1990) Tree-ring standardization and growth-trend estimation. In Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (eds) Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in the Environmental Sciences. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 104–123Google Scholar
  22. Cook ER, Bird T, Peterson M, Barbetti M, Buckley B, D’Arrigo R, Francey R (1992a) Climatic change over the last millennium in Tasmania reconstructed from tree rings. The Holocene 2: 205–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cook ER, Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK (1992) Dendroclimatic evidence for eastern North America. In Bradley RS, Jones PD (eds) Climate Since A.D. 1500. Routledge, London, 331–348Google Scholar
  24. Cook ER, Briffa KR, Jones PD (1994) Spatial regression methods in dendroclimatology: a review and comparison of two techniques. International Journal of Climatology 14: 379–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cook ER, Briffa KR, Meko DM, Graybill DA, Funkhouser G (1995) The ‘segment-length curse’ in long tree-ring chronology development for palaeoclimatic studies. The Holocene 5: 229–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cooper CF (1986) Carbon dioxide enhancement of tree growth at high elevations. Science 231: 859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Cramer JS (1987) Mean and variance of R2 in small and moderate samples. Journal of Econometrics 35: 253–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Draper NR, Smith H (1981) Applied Regression Analysis. Wiley, New York Eddy JA (1992) The PAGES project: proposed implementation plans for research activities. Global IGBP Report No. 19. Stockholm, IGBPGoogle Scholar
  29. Eddy JA (1992) The PAGES project: proposed implementation plans for research activities. Global IGBP Report No. 19. Stockholm, IGBPGoogle Scholar
  30. Fritts HC (1976) Tree Rings and Climate. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Fritts HC (1991) Reconstructing Large-Scale Climatic Patterns from Tree-Ring Data. University of Arizona Press, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  32. Fritts HC, Biasing TJ, Hayden BP, Kutzbach JE (1971) Multivariate techniques for specifying tree-growth and climate relationships and for reconstructing anomalies in paleoclimate. Journal of Applied Meteorology 10: 845–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fritts HC, Guiot J, Gordon GA, Schweingruber FH (1990) Methods of calibration, verification and reconstruction. In Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (eds) Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in the Environmental Sciences. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 163–217Google Scholar
  34. Gale J (1986) Carbon dioxide enhancement of tree growth at high elevations. Science 231: 859–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Guiot J (1985) The extrapolation of recent climatological series with spectral canonical regression. Journal of Climatology 5: 325–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Guiot J (1990) Comparison of Methods. In Cook ER, Kairiukstis LA (eds) Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in the Environmental Sciences. Kluwer, Dordrecht, 185–193Google Scholar
  37. Guiot J, Berger AL, Munaut AV (1982) An illustration of alternative transfer function methods in Switzerland. In Hughes MK, Kelly PM, Pilcher JR, La Marche VC Jr (eds) Climate from Tree Rings. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 160–163Google Scholar
  38. Graumlich LJ, Brubaker LB (1986) Reconstruction of annual temperatures (1590–1979) for Longmire, Washington, derived from tree rings. Quaternary Research 25: 223–234Google Scholar
  39. Graumlich LJ, Brubaker LB, Grier CC (1989) Long-term trend in forest net primary productivity: Cascade Mountains, Washington. Ecology 70: 405–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Graybill DA, Shiyatov SG (1992) Dendroclimatic evidence from the northern Soviet Union. In Bradley RS, Jones PD (eds) Climate Since A.D. 1500. Routledge, London, 393–414Google Scholar
  41. Hughes MK, Kelly PM, Pilcher JR, La Marche VC Jr (eds) 1982: Climate from Tree Rings. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  42. Idso SB (1991) The aerial fertilization effect of CO2 and the implications for global carbon cycling and maximum greenhouse warming. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 72: 962–965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Innes JL (1991) High-altitude and high-latitude tree growth in relation to past, present and future global climate change. The Holocene 1: 168–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kelly PE, Cook ER, Larson DW (1994) A 1397 year tree-ring chronology of Thuja occidentalis from cliff faces of the Niagara Escarpment, southern Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 24: 1049–1057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kienast F, Luxmoore RJ (1988) Tree-ring analysis and conifer growth responses to increased atmospheric CO2 levels. Oecologia 76: 487–495 La Marche VC Jr (1974) Paleoclimatic inferences from long tree-ring records. Science 183: 1043–1048Google Scholar
  46. La Marche VC Jr (1974) Paleoclimatic inferences from long tree-ring records. Science 183: 1043-1048Google Scholar
  47. La Marche VC Jr, Graybill DA, Fritts HC, Rose MR (1984) Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide: tree-ring evidence for growth enhancement in natural vegetation. Science 225: 1019–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. La Marche VC Jr, Graybill DA, Fitts HC, Rose MR (1986) Carbon dioxide enhancement of tree growth at high elevations. Science 231: 860 Lanzante JR (1984) Strategies for assessing skill and significance of screening regression models with emphasis on Monte Carlo techniques. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 23: 1454–1458Google Scholar
  49. Lanzante JR (1984) Strategies for assessing skill and significance of screening regression models with emphasis on Monte Carlo techniques. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 23: 1454-1458Google Scholar
  50. Lara A, Villalba R (1993) A 3620-year temperature record from Fitzroya cupressoides tree rings in southern South America. Science 260: 1104–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lemon ER (ed) (1983) C02 and Plants. AAAS Selected Symposium 84. Westview Press, Boulder, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  52. Mitchell VL (1967) An investigation of certain aspects of tree growth rates in relation to climate in the central Canadian boreal forest. University of Wisconsin, Dept. Meteorology Technical Report 33, Task NR387-022, ONR Contract 1202(07), NSF GP-5572X, Madison, USAGoogle Scholar
  53. Norby RJ, Gunderson CA, Wullschleger SD, O’Neill EG, McCracken MK (1992) Productivity and compensatory responses of yellow-poplar trees in elevated CO2. Nature 357: 322–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pilcher JR, Baillie MGL, Schmidt B, Becker R (1984) A 7272-year tree-ring chronology for western Europe. Nature 312: 150–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rencher AC, Pun FC (1980) Inflation of R2 in best subset regression. Technometrics 22: 49–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schweingruber FH (1988) Tree Rings: Basics and Applications of Dendrochronology. Riedel, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  57. Schweingruber FH, Bartholin T, Schär E, Briffa KR (1988) Radiodensitometric-dendrochronological conifer chronologies from Lapland (Scandinavia) and the Alps ( Switzerland ). Boreas 117: 559–566Google Scholar
  58. Scuderi LC (1990) Tree-ring evidence for climatically effective volcanic eruptions. Quaternary Research 34: 67–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Shiyatov SG (1979) Dendroscales of the Urals. In Bitvinskas TT (ed) Dendroscales of the USSR. Lithuanian SSR, Kaunas (in Russian)Google Scholar
  60. Shiyatov SG (1986) Dendrochronology of the upper forest boundary in the Urals. Nauka, Moscow (in Russian)Google Scholar
  61. Shiyatov SG (1993) The upper timberline dynamics during the last 1100 years in the Polar Ural Mountains. In Oscillations of the Alpine and Polar Tree Limits in the Holocene. Paläoklimaforschung 9: 195–203Google Scholar
  62. Stahle DW, Cleaveland MK, Hehr JG (1988) North Carolina climate changes reconstructed from tree rings: A.D. 372 to 1985. Science 240: 1517–1519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Strain BR, Cure JD (eds) (1985) Direct Effects of Increasing Carbon Dioxide on Vegetation. U.S. Dept. Energy DOE/ER-2023, U.S. Dept. Energy, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  64. Tranquillini W (1979) Physiological Ecology of the Alpine Timberline (Ecological Studies 31 ). Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  65. Wigley TML, Briffa KR, Jones PD (1984) Predicting plant productivity and water resources. Nature 312: 102–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wigley TML, Briffa KR, Jones PD (1987) Detecting the effects of acidic deposition and CO2 fertilization on tree growth. In Kairiukstis L, Bednarz Z, Feliksik E (eds) Proceedings of the Task Force Meeting on Methodology of Dendrochronology, June 1986. IIASA/Polish Academy of Sciences, KrakowGoogle Scholar
  67. Wu XD (1992) Dendroclimatic studies in China. In Bradley RS, Jones PD (eds) Climate Since A.D. 1500. Routledge, London, 432–445Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Climatic Research UnitUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  2. 2.Eidgenossische Anstanlt für das Forstliche VersuchswesenBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Departmentof Physical GeographyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Institute of Plant and Animal EcologyUral Branch of the Russian Academy of SciencesEkaterinburgRussia

Personalised recommendations