Investigating the potential for Southern Hemisphere climate reconstruction using stable isotopes in Tasmanian tree rings

Zachary Grzywacz, Amy Hessl, Kevin Anchukaitis, Shikha Sharma, Michael N. Evans, Scott Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Few annually dated stable isotope records exist across Oceania. Stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios have the potential to enhance climate reconstructions currently reliant on tree ring width chronologies. The purpose of this study is to explore the sources of variability in a stable oxygen isotope chronology derived from A. selaginoides from Mount Read, Tasmania. This high elevation site receives abundant rainfall throughout the year and is ∼130 km from the Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) site at Cape Grim. We crossdated 10 new tree core samples against an existing ring width chronology (954–2011 CE) and analyzed the δ18O from the individual rings for the period 1960–2018. Using high resolution (0.25 degrees) climate data and ECMWF ERA5 reanalysis data, we disentangled the effects of local climate and source region on the isotopic signatures recorded in the annual rings. In addition, we used HYSPLIT backward trajectory analysis to characterize the source region of precipitation to Mount Read and whether the source region has influence over the δ18OTR series. Median δ18OTR (n = 10) is correlated with local temperature and vapor pressure deficit in the early growing season. In addition, spatial correlations reveal that median δ18OTR is positively correlated with temperature and negatively correlated with precipitation in the source region. However, measurements of δ18OTR exhibit high inter-tree variation, particularly between 1960 and 1990. Our results indicate that this δ18OTR proxy may provide additional information about past moisture conditions during the growing season, potentially contributing to more robust reconstructions of the Southern Hemisphere climate dynamics; however, additional sampling may be necessary to resolve inter-tree variation in δ18OTR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126016
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Dendroclimatology
  • Rings
  • Southern hemisphere
  • Tasmania
  • Tree
  • Tree-ring stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating the potential for Southern Hemisphere climate reconstruction using stable isotopes in Tasmanian tree rings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this