Browsing Tree-Ring Bulletin, Volume 34 (1974) by Issue Date
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Chronologies from Termperature-Sensitive Bristlecone Pines at Upper Treeline in Western United StatesRing-width variation in trees at upper treeline in the high mountains of temperate latitudes is a potentially important indicator of past climatic variations, especially temperature variations. Bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva D.K. Bailey and P. aristata Engelm.) were sampled at nine sites in western United States. Plotted annual ring-width indices are given for chronologies that range in length from 532 years in New Mexico, 1409 years in Colorado, and 1239 years in Nevada to 1501 years in eastern California. Possibilities for increasing the length of these chronologies by incorporating tree-ring data from logs and remnants are good in several of the areas, and a 5405-year upper treeline chronology has been developed in California. Tree-ring statistics show that crossdating is poorer, the climatic response is smaller, and the autocorrelation (a measure of year-to-year persistence) is greater in trees at upper treeline sites than at sites near the arid lower forest border. Climatic response functions differ in many details, but generally indicate a positive response of ring growth to warm temperatures in the previous late summer and autumn and current spring and summer. There is a negative response to warm temperatures during some winter and early spring months at several of the sites. The effect of precipitation varies greatly, but a positive response to precipitation during the previous summer or autumn, and during the current spring or summer is indicated. Variations in needle length are related to summer temperature, and may be important in explaining the high autocorrelation of upper treeline ring-width series. Ring-width departures from the long-term mean during the past 500 years were calculated from upper treeline data for 30-year subperiods. The departures are in the same direction over the whole region during many of these subperiods, indicating that climate, rather than local ecological factors, is responsible for the ring-width variations. Comparison of tree-growth fluctuations with meteorological observations at selected stations shows that a general warming trend between the periods 1901-1930 and 1931-1960 is reflected by an upward trend in tree growth. However, low rates of tree growth during an earlier warm period (1850-1869) may be due to a lag in the response of ring -width growth to climatic changes at upper treeline.
Frequency-Dependent Relationships Between Tree-Ring Series Along an Ecological Gradient and Some Dendroclimatic ImplicationsBristlecone pines were sampled at four sites ranging from the arid lower forest border to the upper treeline in the Snake Range of eastern Nevada. Maximum ring-width response to environmental variation is found at the upper and lower forest limits. Ring-width index series from individual trees, as well as the mean site chronologies, were compared by cross-correlation analysis and principal component analysis, combined with digital filtering to emphasize variations in different frequency ranges. Positive correlation exists between the high-frequency variations at all sites, but the longer term trends and fluctuations at the upper treeline are negatively correlated with fluctuations at the lower altitude sites. Cross-spectral analysis substantiates the results of cross-correlation analysis and indicates that the associated variations in the upper treeline and lower forest border chronologies are concentrated in certain frequency ranges that may have climatic significance. From examination of the climatic response functions, the negatively correlated low frequency variations are tentatively judged to be related to warm- season temperature fluctuations, whereas the positively correlated high frequency variations may be related to precipitation. Frequency-dependent relationships between tree-ring chronologies, or between tree-rings and climate should be considered in the analysis of large arrays of tree-ring