Environmental change during the Allerød and Younger Dryas reconstructed from Swiss tree-ring data

Matthias Schaub, Klaus Felix Kaiser, David Charles Frank, Ulf Büntgen, Bernd Kromer, Sahra Talamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Annually resolved tree-ring width variations and radiocarbon ages were measured from a collection of 120 Lateglacial pine stumps excavated on the Swiss Plateau. These data - representing the oldest absolutely dated wood samples worldwide - extend the absolute tree-ring chronology from Central Europe by 183 years back to 12 593 cal. yr BP (10 644 cal. yr BC). They also yield a 1420-year floating chronology covering the entire Allerød and the early Younger Dryas (14 170-12 750 cal. yr BP). Radiocarbon data suggest a 250-year jump in the 14C reservoir correction around the time of the Allerød to Younger Dryas transition, although calendric dating of the floating chronology - by filling a ∼150 year gap - is necessary for confirmation. Various subgroups, based on the year of germination, were used to assess temporal changes in growth characteristics along the Allerød to Younger Dryas transition. Comparison of these Lateglacial data with a reference data set of living and historic pines from the Swiss Valais (AD 940-2000) revealed differences in both growth trend and level. The generally slower Lateglacial growth was likely influenced by higher geomorphic activity and severe climatic conditions. After removal of the biological age-trend, a strong common signal found in the tree-ring data suggests some skill in estimating interannual to multidecadal Lateglacial climatic variations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-86
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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