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Reconstruction of Annual Temperature (1590–1979) for Longmire, Washington, Derived from Tree Rings

  • Lisa J. Graumlich (a1) and Linda B. Brubaker (a1)
Abstract

Annual growth records from trees at timberline in the Cascade Range of Washington are correlated with variations in temperature and snow depth and used to reconstruct climatic variation in the past. Response surfaces indicate that growth of mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) and subalpine larch (Larix lyallii) is positively correlated with summer (July to September) temperature and negatively correlated with spring (March) snow depth when snow depth is at or below average. During years of above average snow depth, temperature has little effect on mountain hemlock but has a negative effect on growth in subalpine larch. These interactions make it difficult to reconstruct these climatic variables separately using standard methods. Mean annual temperature values, which combine information on both summer temperature and spring snow depth, were estimated from a regression model that reconstructs past temperature at Longmire, Washington, as a function of larch and hemlock tree-ring chronologies. The reconstruction of mean annual temperature shows temperatures between 1590 and 1900 to be approximately 1°C lower than those of the 20th century. Only during a short period from 1650 to 1690 did temperatures approach 20th-century values.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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