Grappling with changing climate sensitivities: Highlights from a survey of dendro-scientists

Authors: Christine Biermann*, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Topics: Global Change, Physical Geography, Biogeography
Keywords: tree rings, dendrochronology, climate, forests, dendroclimatology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marshall East, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tree rings are an important source of proxy data on past climate variability, particularly in temperate and boreal forest regions. Yet over the past several decades research has increasingly made clear that trees’ responses to climate are often unstable over time – in other words, trees cannot be assumed to respond consistently over time to one or more dominant climatic limiting factor. At scientific conferences, in the scientific literature, and in training programs, the issue of shifting sensitivities to climate has been a subject of broad interest and concern. And while research continues to make strides in testing, theorizing, and comprehending trees’ dynamic responses to climate, there has no to date been a systematic analysis of how this issue has altered the shared assumptions and research practices of tree-ring scientists. The objective of this paper is to provide such an analysis, drawing on a questionnaire survey completed by 121 tree-ring researchers across >= 28 nations. Ultimately, this dataset provides an in-depth look at the state of the field from within – rather than looking solely at how published literature grapples with this issue, this study turns the focus inward to understand how challenges posed by dynamic growth responses to climate are understood by tree-ring researchers.

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