, Volume 59, Issue 1-2, pp 233-244

Frequency-Dependent Climate Signal in Upper and Lower Forest Border Tree Rings in the Mountains of the Great Basin

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Abstract

We examine the relationships, over the past millennium, between tree-ring chronologies from long-lived pines at their upper and lower limits in four mountain ranges in and near to the semi-arid Great Basin. We confirm LaMarche's (1974a) finding, based on a single mountain range in this same region, and a much shorter period of comparison, that climate responses are frequency dependent. In particular, upper and lower forest border chronologies in each mountain range are strongly coherent at decadal periods and less, with particular strength in the 3–7 year band. Thisvariability is significantly correlated with precipitation. Conversely, we find no significant correlation between the low frequency fluctuations (60 years and longer) of upper and lower forest border chronologies. There are, however, significant correlations between the low-frequency components of the upper forest border chronologies in the different ranges, consistent with their containing a growing season temperature signal on decadal time scales. The four upper forest border chronologies all show an anomalous increase in growth since the late 19th century, and an apparent change in climate control of ring growth.