Tree-ring growth curves as sources of climatic information

Mukhtar M. Naurzbaev, Malcolm K. Hughes, Eugene A. Vaganov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Regional growth curves (RGCs) have been recently used to provide a new basis for removing nonclimatic trend from tree-ring data. Here we propose a different use for RGCs and explore their properties along two transects, one meridional and the other elevational. RGCs consisting of mean ring width plotted against cambial age were developed for larch samples from 34 sites along a meridional transect (55-72°N) in central Siberia, and for 24 sites on an elevational gradient (1120 and 2350 m a.s.l.) in Tuva and neighboring Mongolia at approximately 51°N. There are systematic gradients of the parameters of the RGCs, such as I 0 -maximum tree-ring width near pith, and I min , the asymptotic value of tree-ring width in old trees. They are smaller at higher latitude and elevation. Annual mean temperature and mean May-September temperature are highly correlated with latitude here, and hence RGC parameters are correlated with these climatic variables. Correlations with precipitation are more complex, and contradictory between meridional and elevational transects. The presence of a similar gradient in the elevational transect is consistent with temperature being the causal factor for both gradients, rather than, for example, latitude-dependent patterns of seasonal photoperiod change. Taking ring measurements from collections of relict and subfossil wood, the RGC-latitude and RGC-temperature relationships are used to estimate paleo-temperatures on centennial time scales. These estimates are consistent with earlier "traditional" dendroclimatic approaches, and with independent information on the northern extent of forest growth in the early mid-Holocene. It may be possible to use this same approach to make estimates of century-scale paleo-temperatures in other regions where abundant relict wood is present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Centennial-scale temperature estimates
  • Elevational transect
  • Larch
  • Meridional transect
  • Regional curve standardization (RCS)
  • Siberia
  • Tree rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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