Climatic Change

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 551–562 | Cite as

Climatic trends from isotopic records of tree rings: The past 100–200 years

  • Xiahong Feng
  • Samuel Epstein


There has been a great deal of discussion about global warming from accumulation of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Houghton et al., 1990). Relatively less attention has been paid to spatial and/or temporal climatic variations that may be associated with a warmer climate (Rind et al., 1989) or with anthropogenic activities (Schneider, 1994). In this article, we show that an increase in climatic variability may have started. Fourteen isotopic time series of tree rings are presented. These trees were randomly collected from world-wide locations and cover time periods of 120 to over 200 years. The isotopic records show increasing δD values that suggest a consistent and progressive warming occurred in the 19th century in all locations where the trees were sampled. The rate of warming is greater at relatively cold locations than at warm locations with two exceptions. The records also suggest greater climatic variations both temporally and spatially in the 20th century than in the 19th century.


Atmosphere Time Series 19th Century Global Warming Climatic Variation 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiahong Feng
    • 1
  • Samuel Epstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences170-25, California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaU.S.A

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