Stable isotope chronology and climate signal calibration in neotropical montane cloud forest trees

K. J. Anchukaitis, M. N. Evans, N. T. Wheelwright, D. P. Schra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Tropical montane cloud forests are ecosystems intrinsically linked to a narrow range of geographic and meteorological conditions, making them potentially sensitive to small changes in precipitation or temperature. We investigate the potential application of stable isotope analysis to cloud forest dendroclimatology at Monteverde in Costa Rica in order to be able to extract both chronological and paleoclimate information from trees without annual growth rings. High-resolution δ18O measurements are used to identify regular cycles in wood of up to 9%, which are associated with seasonal changes in precipitation and moisture sources. The calculated annual growth rates derived from the isotope time series match those observed from long-term basal growth measurements. Interannual variability in the oxygen isotope ratio of lower forest trees is primarily related to interannual changes in wet season precipitation. Forward modeling independently supports our detection of both annual chronology and a climate signal. The confirmation of annual chronology and sensitivity to interannual climate anomalies suggests that tropical cloud forest dendroclimatology can be used to investigate local and regional hydroclimatic variability and change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberG03030
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 28 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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