Regional climatic and North Atlantic Oscillation signatures in West Virginia red cedar over the past millennium

D'Arrigo, Rosanne Dorothy; Anchukaitis, Kevin; Buckley, Brendan M.; Cook, Edward R.; Wilson, Robert J.

We describe a millennial length (~ 1500-yr) tree-ring chronology developed from West Virginia (WVA), USA red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) ring widths that is significantly correlated with local to regional temperature and precipitation for the region. Using ensemble methods of tree-ring standardization, above average ring widths are indicated for the period between ~ 1000 and 1300 CE, the approximate time of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), the most recent major warm episode prior to the modern era. The chronology then transitions to more negative overall growth persisting through much of the subsequent period known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). While WVA cedar growth levels during the MCA are broadly similar to the 20th century mean, the most positive values during the MCA are associated with RCS-standardized chronologies, which pseudoproxy tests reveal are likely biased artificially positive, warranting further investigation. This cedar record is significantly correlated with the NAO, due to the tendency for warmer, wetter conditions to occur in the eastern-central USA during the NAO's positive phase. These types of conditions are inferred for this cedar chronology during the MCA period, during which NAO reconstructions suggest a persistently-positive NAO state.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for 2011_D_Arrigo-etal-ESPL.pdf 2011_D_Arrigo-etal-ESPL.pdf application/download 1.2 MB Download File

Also Published In

Global and Planetary Change

More About This Work