Paleo Home Research Data Education What's New Features Paleo Perspectives Site Map Mirror Sites National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina navigation bar
Paleo Slide Set: Tree Rings: Ancient Chronicles of Environmental Change
Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) in Bayou DeView, Arkansas.
Information about a particular climate variable can be maximized through careful site selection. For example, if one is interested in how rainfall has varied over time, a steep, rocky, dry, south-facing slope in an arid environment may be selected to find trees under maximum water stress. In such cases, ring width is a strong proxy for precipitation. In the previous slide, the foxtail pines in the cold environment near upper treeline are sensitive to summer temperatures and growing season length. They will likely reflect these variables in their ring-width patterns. In this slide, the baldcypress growing in a swamp is, surprisingly, a good recorder of spring rainfall in the southeastern United States. High rainfall is related to high dissolved-oxygen levels, which promote baldcypress growth. The baldcypress root system, responsible for uptake of water and nutrients, also appears to be very sensitive to water level.

Photo Credits:
Dave Stahle
Department of Geography, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Click to View Larger Image
Click on above image to enlarge.

Download a zip file
of a full resolution TIF image

Back to Slide Sets.....

Contact Us
Last Modified: 12 October 2001

Paleoclimatology Program Home Page