Spatiotemporal Variability in the Climate Growth Response of High Elevation Bristlecone Pine in the White Mountains of California

Andrew G. Bunn, Matthew W. Salzer, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Jamis M. Bruening, Malcolm K. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tree-ring chronologies from bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) are a unique proxy used to understand climate variability over the middle to late Holocene. The annual rings from trees growing toward the species' lower elevational range are sensitive to precipitation variability. Interpretation of the ring-width signal at the upper forest border has been more difficult. We evaluate differences in climate induced by topography (topoclimate) to better understand the dual signals of temperature and moisture. We unmix signals from trees growing at and near the upper forest border based on the seasonal mean temperature (SMT) experienced by each tree. We find that trees growing in exposures with SMT <7.5  C are limited by temperature, while trees with SMT > 7.5  C are limited by moisture. We demonstrate this independently through analysis of growth in the frequency and time domains and using a process model of xylogenesis. Furthermore, we identify increasing moisture sensitivity in trees formerly limited by temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13,312-13,321
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume45
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 28 2018

Keywords

  • dendroclimatology
  • divergence
  • paleoclimate
  • topoclimate
  • treeline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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