Temperature-sensitive redcedar chronologies from the Driftless Area enable a new suite of climate reconstructions for the Great Lakes region

Authors: Tia L Federman*, University of Wisconsin - Platteville, Sophie A Pitney, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse , Elissa R Granger, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Christopher A Underwood, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Evan R Larson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Environmental Science, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Dendrochronology, Dendroclimatology, Eastern redcedar, Climate Reconstruction, Driftless Area, Wisconsin
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


We developed eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) tree-ring chronologies at two sites in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin to expand the network of available proxy data for the region. The combined chronology spans 1261–2017 with a mean series intercorrelation of 0.45 and mean sensitivity of 0.35. Climate growth analysis identified a regional-scale significant negative correlation with June maximum temperatures and a significant positive correlation with precipitation in an area that spanned a northeast-southwest oriented belt from southeastern Ontario to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The precipitation signal suggests the influence of teleconnections on the region’s climate. Comparison with global sea surface temperatures identified an expansive signature of significant positive correlations with Pacific Sea Surface temperatures through the Gulf of Alaska, along the California coastline, and across the tropics, and negative correlations centered on the general position of the North Pacific high. These relationships allow for further investigation of the teleconnections that influence regional climate throughout central North America. Used in concert with other tree-ring records from the Driftless Area, our redcedar chronologies enabled preliminary reconstructions of a suite of hydrologic variables including Kickapoo River Valley streamflow (r2 = 0.32), Palmer’s Drought Severity Index (r2 = 0.45), and Grant County depth-to-groundwater (r2 = 0.38). We continue to explore relationships with various climate variables including cloud cover and Great Lakes water levels to help elucidate the general climatic patterns affecting the Driftless Area and Upper Great Lakes Region.

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