- I have spent the past several years focused on dendrochronology in the Asian tropics, particularly mainland Southeast Asia. This work resulted in two long records from north Thailand and north Vietnam, respectively, that appear in Buckley et al. (2007 Climate Dynamics), and Sano, Buckley and Sweda (2009, also in Climate Dynamics) showing that periods of decadal drought occurred during the past 5 centuries and often coincided with societal turmoil. Most recently, we developed a near-millennial aged tree ring chronology from southern Vietnam, at 12 degrees north latitude, from the rare cypress Fokienia hodginsii. This record was used to reconstruct the hydroclimate for the region going back 750 years, and highlighted periods of multi-decadal drought that coincided with the collapse of Angkor (These results are now published as Buckley et al. 2010, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Furthermore, we show the links between sea surface temperature variability (i.e., ENSO) in the tropical Pacific and hydroclimate over mainland Southeast Asia. During the course of this research I have found multiple tree species from the mountains of Vietnam and Laos that have annual rings and can be used for developing records similar to that for Fokienia. This work is ongoing, and ought to make significant contribution to the fields of paleoclimatology and tropical forest ecology.
- Prior to the work in Southeast Asia I spent years working along the northern treeline in Alaska and Canada, working largely on reconstructing temperature. I also spent years in the southern hemisphere, studying the long-lived souther conifer Huon pine, of the family Podocarpaceae, as well as New Zealand's ancient Kauri, of the family Auracauriaceae. In all of these studies I like to look at tree rings as incorporating multiple aspects of the environment, and taking into account the physiology and ecological aspects of how trees grow. I am currently focused on understanding in far greater detail the physiological and ecological aspects of tree growth in response to climate. There is much exciting work yet to be done, and along with my colleagues from around the world, I plan to be addressing these important questions for a long time to come.
Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Tree Ring Lab
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Fields of interest:
Dendrochronology, Dendroclimatology, Tropical Forest Ecosystems, Arctic Treeline Studies