The evidence from trees

  • Exhibition Text

    • Tree rings are sensitive indicators of annual climate. Thick rings indicate rapid growth during warm, wet years. Thin rings, and therefore slow growth, indicate cold, dry years. By matching the overlapping sequences from progressively older trees, a complete tree-ring chronology can be extended back thousands of years. A single tree, however, records only local climate. To establish the regional climate, many trees from various localities must be examined.

      Trees from the Arctic, a region more sensitive than other areas to climate fluctuations, are particularly good recorders of climate variations.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Climate/Climate Change

      Keywords: Arctic regions, Climatology, Tree rings, Trees

      Audience: General

In This Section

Tree core

Tree core

This piece of a core from a Siberian pine provides a continuous record of more than 500 years.

Tree-ring section

Tree-ring section

This is a cross section of a white spruce that lived from 1441 to 1931.