Continuing upward trend in Mt Read Huon pine ring widths – Temperature or divergence?

Allen, K. J.; Cook, Edward R.; Buckley, Brendan M.; Larsen, S. H.; Drew, D. M.; Downes, G. M.; Francey, R. J.; Peterson, M. J.; Baker, P. J.

To date, no attempt has been made to assess the presence or otherwise of the “Divergence Problem” (DP) in existing multi-millennial Southern Hemisphere tree-ring chronologies. We have updated the iconic Mt Read Huon pine chronology from Tasmania, southeastern Australia, to now include the warmest decade on record, AD 2000–2010, and used the Kalman Filter (KF) to examine it for signs of divergence against four different temperature series available for the region. Ring-width growth for the past two decades is statistically unprecedented for the past 1048 years. Although we have identified a decoupling between temperature and growth in the past two decades, the relationship between some of the temperature records and growth has varied over time since the start of instrumental records. Rather than the special case of ‘divergence’, we have identified a more general time-dependence between growth and temperature over the last 100 years. This time-dependence appears particularly problematic at interdecadal time scales. Due to the time-dependent relationships, and uncertainties related to the climate data, the use of any of the individual temperature series examined here potentially complicates temperature reconstruction. Some of the uncertainty in the climate data may be associated with changing climatic conditions, such as the intensification of the sub-tropical ridge (STR) and its impact on the frequency of anticyclonic conditions over the Mt Read site. Increased growth at the site, particularly in the last decade, over and above what would be expected based on a linear temperature model alone, may be consistent with a number of hypotheses. Existing uncertainties in the climate data need to be resolved and independent physiological information obtained before a range of hypotheses for this increased growth can be effectively evaluated.

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Quaternary Science Reviews

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Tree Ring Lab
Published Here
September 24, 2015