Dendroclimatological Reconstruction of Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index utilizing Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis) from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (1710-2006)

Authors: Zachary Merrill*, Michigan Technological University School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Maegen Rochner, University of Tennessee, Matt Bekker, Brigham Young University , Justin DeRose, USFS
Topics: Physical Geography, Paleoenvironmental Change, Environment
Keywords: Dendrochronology, Dendroclimatology, Tree-Rings, Yellowstone, Reconstruction
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Dendroclimatology, or the science of reconstructing past climate from tree rings, is a powerful tool in paleoclimatology. Tree rings serve as natural proxies for climate variability and have annual or sub-annual resolution. The American southwest is an ideal location for dendroclimatological reconstructions of integrative drought related indices, such as standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI). The purpose of this research is to initiate a SPEI dendroclimate reconstruction of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem using our newly established Bald Ridge limber pine (Pinus flexilis) chronology collected and created during North American Dendroecological Field-week (NADEF) 2018. The final chronology developed contains 34 series from 22 different trees utilizing both cores from living limber pine and cross-sections from sub-fossil remnant wood found on the site. This chronology alone explained 17 percent of the year-to-year variance in SPEI from 1710-2017. We tested adding an additional 13 chronologies from across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in a step-wise regression. The final multiple linear regression used five chronologies from the region and explained 55 percent of the variance in SPEI from 1710 to 2006.

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