Possible climatic response of delta 13C in leaf cellulose of pinyon pine in Arizona, U.S.A.

S. W. Leavitt, A. Long

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19 Scopus citations


Leaves of pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) were collected from 10 living trees at 9 sites in Arizona and New Mexico, representing elevations from 1200 to 2200 m. Stable-carbon isotopic analysis was performed on cellulose isolated from the whole-leaf material. In spite of the range of conditions, the delta 13C response varies only over approx 1per mille, with an average variance among leaves of the same tree of 0.4per mille. These values were regressed with elevation and with monthly, seasonal and annual climatic data from nearby climatological stations. Linear relations of delta with T and precipitation yield mostly positive correlations, not significant at 95%. Because of high delta 13C values for the the highest elevation sites, the regressions improve greatly for second-order polynomials of elevation and T. The mechanism for higher delta 13C at higher elevations is not clear, but may be related to length of growing season. There may be some potential for reconstructions based on strong linear relations derived from the lower elevation trees.-P.Br.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalIsotope Geoscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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