An annually resolved bristlecone pine carbon isotope chronology for the last millennium

Roderick J. Bale, Iain Robertson, Matthew W. Salzer, Neil J. Loader, Steven W. Leavitt, Mary Gagen, Thomas P. Harlan, Danny McCarroll

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27 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the first near millennium-length, annually resolved stable isotope record from bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva, D.K Bailey). The carbon isotope ratios from the cellulose of seven trees from the White Mountains of California, corrected for anthropogenic changes in atmospheric chemistry, are used to reconstruct growing season (June through August) precipitation back to AD 1085. Extremely negative isotope results are strongly correlated with proposed severest El Niño events over the last 500yr, and similar values in the first half of the millennium are used to reconstruct a further 13 strong El Niño events, concentrated in the 12th Century and the mid 13th and 14th Centuries. Ring-width chronologies from adjacent sites in the White Mountains demonstrate a high degree of decadal covariance with the δ13C series, although there are several periods of notable divergence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

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Keywords

  • Bristlecone pine
  • Carbon isotopes
  • Climate change
  • Dendroclimatology
  • Drought
  • El Niño
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Precipitation
  • Tree rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Bale, R. J., Robertson, I., Salzer, M. W., Loader, N. J., Leavitt, S. W., Gagen, M., Harlan, T. P., & McCarroll, D. (2011). An annually resolved bristlecone pine carbon isotope chronology for the last millennium. Quaternary Research, 76(1), 22-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2011.05.004