Trees can record centuries of history in their rings – changes in rainfall and temperatures, even evidence of fires sweeping through a region or the climatic impacts of volcanic eruptions. Annual rings are common in trees that experience seasonal climate variability and dormancy, but in the tropics, these records are rare. Now, for the first time, scientists have documented consistent annual tree rings in a native species on Hawai’i. The history recorded in the ring widths could improve our understanding of the climate in the eastern tropical Pacific, a region where much of the variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) originates.
Centers, Projects & Initiatives
|Name||Title||Fields of interest|
|Brendan M. Buckley||Lamont Research Professor||Dendrochronology, Dendroclimatology, Tropical Forest Ecosystems, Arctic Treeline Studies|
|Nicole K. Davi||Adjunct Associate Research Scientist||Paleoclimatology, Drought and Hydrometeorological Reconstructions, Climate Change, Dendrochronology, Science Education & Outreach, Paleoarchaeology, Sustainability, Climate Risk Management|
|Kevin Anchukaitis||Adjunct Associate Research Scientist||paleoclimatology, dendroclimatology, tropical dendrochronology, stable isotope biogeochemistry, climate field reconstruction and statistics, forward modeling|
|Edward R. Cook||Ewing Lamont Research Professor|
August 21, 2015
May 07, 2012
Dendrochronologist Brendan Buckley’s usual occupation is drilling straw-like cores from old trees and extracting information about past climates by studying their rings. To extend the record beyond the time of living trees, he sometimes takes samples from long-dead trees, or even from timbers in ancient buildings. In 2010, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientist was part of a team that traveled into the remote Cardamom Mountains of southern Cambodia to investigate human burials contained in coffins carved from entire logs.
November 11, 2011
“I was deeply saddened by the loss of one of our most beautiful trees on campus during the last storm. It had perfect symmetry and such a beautiful color display late in the fall,” wrote geochemist Martin Stute, after a highly unusual heavy October snow felled a 22-year-old Bradford pear at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where he works. The tree had stood since 1989 in front of the Seismology/Marine Biology building–for many, a shady regular lunch spot, and stately natural contrast to the squat, corrugated-metal architecture of the human structure behind it. Stute emailed Lamont colleagues his brief eulogy, with an attached picture of the tree in happier days. Dozens replied.
November 03, 2010
Scientists have long known that large volcanic explosions can affect the weather by spewing particles that block solar energy and cool the air. Some suspect that extended “volcanic winters” from gigantic blowups helped kill off dinosaurs and Neanderthals...
April 21, 2010
The seasonal monsoon rains in Asia feed nearly half the world’s population, and when the rains fail to come, people can go hungry, or worse. A new study of tree rings provides the most detailed record yet of at least four epic droughts that have shaken Asia over the last thousand years..
March 29, 2010
Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence.