Blue Intensity as a temperature proxy in the eastern United States: a case study of potential from a southern disjunct population of Picea rubens

Authors: Karen Heeter*, University of Idaho, Grant Harley, University of Idaho
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: red spruce, climate change, dendroclimatology, Appalachian Mountains, maximum temperature
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

Annual surface air temperatures across the eastern United States (US) have increased by more than 1 C within the last century, with the recent decades marked by an unprecedented warming trend. Tree-rings have long been used as a proxy for climate reconstruction, but few truly temperature-sensitive trees have been documented for the eastern US, much less Southeast. Here, we compare the temperature signal in blue intensity (BI) and ring-width (RWI) chronologies developed from red spruce growing on Roan Mountain, North Carolina. The BI and RWI chronologies spanned 1883–2008 and had an interseries correlations of 0.42 and 0.54, respectively, but time series were trimmed to the period 1950–2008 due to low expressed population signal. We discovered strong and positive correlations (r=0.62; p<0.001) between current-year late summer/early fall (Aug–Oct) Tmax and BI that was stable through time, but no significant correlations with RWI. We show red spruce to be a strong and viable temperature proxy for the southern Appalachian region. Future research should focus on testing [1] the efficacy of using BI on red spruce collected from across the species range, and [2] the potential for using BI as a temperature proxy in other conifers distributed in the eastern US.

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