The northernmost conifers in the world are located well above the Arctic Circle in the Taymir region of northern Siberia and have been recording the thermal environment for centuries to millennia. The trees respond to temperatures beyond the narrow season of actual cambial cell division by means of root growth, photosynthesis, lignification of cell walls, and other biochemical processes. Data from annual tree-ring widths are used to reconstruct May-September mean temperatures for the past four centuries. These warm-season temperatures correlate with annual temperatures and indicate unusual warming in the 20th century. However, there is a loss of thermal response in ring widths since about 1970, Previously the warmer temperatures induced wider rings. Most major warming and cooling trends are in agreement with other high-latitude temperature reconstructions based on tree-ring analyses with some regional differences in timing of cooling in the late 18th century and of warming in the late 19th century. (C) 2000 University of Washington.
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