Climatic Change

, Volume 59, Issue 1–2, pp 233–244 | Cite as

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

  • Malcolm K. Hughes
  • Gary Funkhouser


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.


Mountain Range Tree Ring Ring Growth Temperature Signal Season Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Briffa, K. R., Jones, P. D., and Schweingruber, F. H.: 1992, ‘Tree-Ring Density Reconstructions of Summer Temperature Patterns across Western North America Since 1600’, J. Climate 5, 735–754.Google Scholar
  2. Granger, C. W. J. and Hatanaka, M.: 1964, Spectral Analysis of Economic Time Series, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 299 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Graumlich, L. J.: 1993, ‘A 1000-Year Record of Temperature and Precipitation in the Sierra Nevada’, Quatern. Res. 39, 249–255.Google Scholar
  4. Graybill, D. A. and Idso, S. B.: 1993, ‘Detecting the Aerial Fertilization Effects of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment in Tree-Ring Chronologies’, Global Biogeochem. Cycles 7, 81–95.Google Scholar
  5. Holmes, R. L., Adams, R. K., and Fritts, H. C.: 1986, Tree-Ring Chronologies of Western North America: California, Eastern Oregon and Northern Great Basin With Procedures Used in the Chronology Development Work Including Users' Manuals for Computer Programs COFECHA and ARSTAN, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 182 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Hughes, M. K. and Funkhouser, G.: 1998, ‘Extremes of Moisture Availability Reconstructed from Tree Rings for Recent Millennia in the Great Basin of Western North America’, in Beniston, M. and Innes, J. L. (eds.), The Impacts of Climate Variability on Forests, Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 99–107.Google Scholar
  7. Hughes M. K. and Graumlich, L. J.: 1996, ‘Multimillennial Dendroclimatic Records from Western North America’, in Bradley, R. S., Jones, P. D., and Jouzel, J. (eds.), Climatic Variations and Forcing Mechanisms of the Last 2000 Years, Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 109–124.Google Scholar
  8. Jenkins, G. M. and Watts, G. D.: 1968, Spectral Analysis and its Applications, Holden Day, San Francisco, 525 pp.Google Scholar
  9. LaMarche, V. C.: 1974a, ‘Frequency-Dependent Relationships between Tree-Ring Series along an Ecological Gradient and Some Dendroclimatic Implications’, Tree-Ring Bull. 34, 1–20.Google Scholar
  10. LaMarche, V. C.: 1974b, ‘Paleoclimatic Inferences from Long Tree-Ring Records’, Science 183, 1043–1088.Google Scholar
  11. LaMarche, V. C.: 1978, ‘Tree-Ring Evidence of Past Climatic Variability’, Nature 276, 334–348.Google Scholar
  12. LaMarche, V. C., Graybill, D. A, Fritts, H. C., and Rose, M. R.: 1984, ‘Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: Tree Ring Evidence for Growth Enhancement in Natural Vegetation’, Science 225, 1019–1021.Google Scholar
  13. LaMarche, V. C. and Stockton, C. W.: 1974, ‘Chronologies from Temperature-Sensitive Bristlecone Pines at Upper Treeline in Western United States’, Tree-Ring Bull. 34, 21–45.Google Scholar
  14. Ni, F., Cavazos, T., Hughes, M. K., Comrie, A. C., and Funkhouser, G.: 2002, ‘Cool Season Precipitation in the Southwestern United States since AD 1000: Comparison of Linear and Nonlinear Techniques for Reconstruction’, Int. J. Clim. 22, 1645–1662.Google Scholar
  15. Stokes, M. A. and Smiley, T. L.: 1996, An Introduction to Tree-Ring Dating, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 73 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm K. Hughes
    • 1
  • Gary Funkhouser
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Arizona, TucsonU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of Arizona, TucsonU.S.A

Personalised recommendations