AuthorAdam, David Peter
Pollen, Fossil -- Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
Palynology -- Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
Paleoclimatology -- Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
Committee ChairMartin, Paul S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPollen analysis of two surface transects of modern soil samples and four stratigraphic sections from the central Sierra Nevada of California have provided a climatic record covering the time interval since the recession of the last glaciers of the Wisconsin glaciation. Two separate warm intervals are recognized between the recession of the Wisconsin glaciers and the reappearance of glaciers in the Sierra during the Little Ice Age.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Climatic and Ecological Implications of Shrub-Chronologies at Rock Glacier Sites of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, California, U.S.A.Franklin, Rebecca Sara (The University of Arizona., 2012)Herb- or shrub-chronology, a technique adapted from dendrochronology, is the study of the annual growth rings in roots of certain perennial dicotyledonous plants. The presence of annual growth increments in high-elevation plants is significant as it highlights the applicability of herbchronology for climatic, ecological and geomorphologic applications in alpine and other extra-arboreal regions. For alpine sites along the eastern crest of the Sierra Nevada range I present the first shrub-ring chronologies of the species Linanthus pungens (Torr.) J.M. Porter & L.A. Johnson. L. pungens individuals were collected at, and are especially ubiquitous at rock glacier sites in north-east trending glacial-cirque valleys. Rock glaciers are an increasingly recognized and studied feature on the alpine landscape, supporting floristically diverse plant populations, distinct thermal regimes decoupled from the external air and perennial water sources fed by interstitial ice. These landforms are expected to be refugia for alpine flora and fauna in some regions for projected warmer and drier climates. To evaluate plant growth on rock glaciers as compared to adjacent talus slopes in the central Sierra Nevada range of California, USA, a series of five cirque basins were selected as sites for paired rock glacier- talus slope vegetation comparisons. Vegetation cover, species richness, diversity measures and plant functional traits were recorded at ten sites (five rock glaciers, five talus slopes) along a 100-kilometer latitudinal span of the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada range. Canonical correspondence analysis was used to evaluate general patterns in cover, diversity and functional traits for the 10 sites and inform subsequent statistical analyses. Both vegetation cover and species richness were significantly greater on rock glacier sites than on adjacent talus slopes even though mean slope values for the rock glacier sites were higher. Significantly, for the present study, rock glaciers support a higher number of the species Linanthus pungens, a climatically sensitive, long-lived alpine sub-shrub, showing that these periglacial landforms are not only floristically distinct but are also habitats containing natural climate archives useful to the field of herbchronology. L. pungens shrub-ring chronologies are determined to be distinct from Pinus albicaulis chronologies growing at the same five sets of sites in the Sierra Nevada study location. P. albicaulis (PIAL) tree-ring chronologies and L. pungens (LIPU) shrub-ring chronologies were constructed for four cirque basin sites. Comparisons were made between chronologies based on growth form (shrub or tree) and site, and on chronology response to average monthly temperature, total monthly precipitation and April 1 snowpack values. Chronologies are significantly more similar to other chronologies of the same growth form (PIAL-PIAL or LIPU-LIPU) than are same-site chronologies of different growth form (i.e. PIAL-LIPU chronologies) (p < 0.05). This holds true for comparisons based on Pearson’s correlation coefficients or Gleichläufigkeit (GLK) values. Growth response to monthly temperature and precipitation values is highly variable for same-site chronologies and also for same growth form chronologies. Topographical position and proximity to treeline was held constant at all sites so differences in climate-growth response within sites and within species may be attributed to factors that are unrealized in the sampling design. Based on composite climate anomaly maps, wide ring widths in PIAL chronologies occur after average winter and spring precipitation and with warm growing seasons while narrow PIAL rings fall after wet springs and with average summer temperatures. Years in which all LIPU rings are wide are found to occur during warm dry springs and growing seasons while years in which all LIPU rings are narrow occur in conjunction with wet winters and springs. Investigation into the longest and most replicated chronology at the Barney Lake (BL) site allowed a climate-growth comparison over a longer period of time (the BL chronology is 112 years in length with sufficient sample replication (EPS > 0.85) to capture a robust common signal from 1952 through 2007). Marker years in the BL chronology correspond to drought (wide rings) and persistent snowpack (narrow rings). Response function analysis indicates significant correlations with July minimum temperatures and the previous year's November precipitation. Increase in the radial growth of the taproot of L. pungens at BL has not decreased over the past century and is more highly correlated to temperature (positively) and snowpack and precipitation (negatively) during the latter half of the chronology period. Predictions of decreasing snowpack and warming temperatures for the alpine Sierra Nevada could indicate increased shrub growth over the next century and possible shrub range expansion if unprecedented drought does not prove to limit growth in the future. Work at BL and the other four alpine L. pungens chronology locations demonstrate a potential for additional research on climate-shrub growth interactions and in particular for investigations into climate controls on upper shrubline growth and movement in the Sierra Nevada range in California.
Socioecological transitions trigger fire regime shifts and modulate fire–climate interactions in the Sierra Nevada, USA, 1600–2015 CETaylor, Alan H.; Trouet, Valerie; Skinner, Carl N.; Stephens, Scott; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2016-11-29)Large wildfires in California cause significant socioecological impacts, and half of the federal funds for fire suppression are spent each year in California. Future fire activity is projected to increase with climate change, but predictions are uncertain because humans can modulate or even override climatic effects on fire activity. Here we test the hypothesis that changes in socioecological systems from the Native American to the current period drove shifts in fire activity and modulated fire-climate relationships in the Sierra Nevada. We developed a 415-y record (1600-2015 CE) of fire activity by merging a treering-based record of Sierra Nevada fire history with a 20th-century record based on annual area burned. Large shifts in the fire record corresponded with socioecological change, and not climate change, and socioecological conditions amplified and buffered fire response to climate. Fire activity was highest and fire-climate relationships were strongest after Native American depopulation-following mission establishment (ca. 1775 CE)-reduced the self-limiting effect of Native American burns on fire spread. With the Gold Rush and EuroAmerican settlement (ca. 1865 CE), fire activity declined, and the strong multidecadal relationship between temperature and fire decayed and then disappeared after implementation of fire suppression (ca. 1904 CE). The amplification and buffering of fire-climate relationships by humans underscores the need for parameterizing thresholds of human-vs. climate-driven fire activity to improve the skill and value of fire-climate models for addressing the increasing fire risk in California.
Sierra Nevada tree-rings and atmospheric circulationGarfin, Gregg Marc, 1957- (The University of Arizona., 1998)The primary objective of this research is to investigate relationships between extremes in central Sierra Nevada tree growth, temperature and precipitation and winter and summer atmospheric circulation. Using existing Sierra Nevada chronologies, I developed two mean chronologies for the period of overlap between instrumental and tree-ring records (1900-1987), one for giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and one for treeline pines (Pinus balfouriana, Pinus albicaulis) and selected the highest and lowest quintiles of tree growth as extreme years. For these years, I constructed and analyzed maps of composite anomalies for the following climatic data: tropospheric pressure (SLP, 700 mb, 500 mb), storm track (positive vorticity advection [PVA], a variable not previously used in dendroclimatology), temperature, precipitation, and snow (a variable often assumed have the same effects on growth as winter precipitation). Results suggest that extreme growth in these trees is associated with distinct patterns of winter atmospheric circulation and snow depth that are consistent with instrumental studies for the Western U.S. The storm track and snow analyses, seldom used in dendroclimatology, added substance to inferences based on analyses of tropospheric and surface climate parameters. This study shows the strong potential for reconstruction of these variables using Sierra Nevada trees. Synthesis of these results suggests that sequoia exhibit low growth during years with meridional winter and summer circulation, winter storms primarily occluded in the Gulf of Alaska, and low snow depth; sequoia exhibit high growth during years with low winter pressure in the north Pacific, long duration storms, a SW-NE oriented storm track entering North America at the California-Oregon border, high snow depth and zonal summer flow. Treeline pines exhibit low growth during years with enhanced ridging over the eastern Pacific, cool, short duration winter storms along a northern track, low snow depth and high east Pacific summer SLP; these pines exhibit high growth during years with warm, long duration winter storms following a southern track, a quasi-PNA atmospheric circulation pattern, average snow depth and a northeastward displaced summer subtropical high. Evidence presented herein suggests that variation in extreme treeline pine growth tracks low frequency changes in north Pacific atmospheric circulation.