, Volume 94, Issue 3-4, pp 429-456

Summer maximum temperature in northern France over the past century: instrumental data versus multiple proxies (tree-ring isotopes, grape harvest dates and forest fires)

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Abstract

Changes in maximum spring and summer temperature are expected to have impacts on plant phenology and the occurrence of forest fires. Homogenised instrumental records of maximum spring and summer temperature are available in northern France for the past century, as well as documentary records of grape harvest dates and forest fire frequencies. Here we provide a new proxy of seasonal climate obtained by the analysis of latewood tree ring cellulose isotopic composition (δ18O, δ13C and δD), from 15 living oak trees (Quercus petraea) sampled in the Fontainebleau forest, near Paris. For the past 30 years, we have conducted a study on the inter-tree (for oxygen isotopes) and inter-station (for oxygen and hydrogen) isotopic variability. Multiple linear regression statistical analyses are used to assess the response function of documentary and tree-ring isotopic records to a variety of climatic and hydrological parameters. This calibration study highlights the correlation between latewood tree-ring δ18O and δ13C, grape harvest dates and numbers of forest fire starts with maximum growing season (April to September) temperature, showing the potential of multiple proxy reconstructions to assess the past fluctuations of this parameter prior to the instrumental period.