Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How reliable are tree rings for climate modeling?

  1. Mar 11, 2006 #1


    User Avatar

    I won't say who said it, but does this sound right to you? Dendrochronolgists on TV all say it so easy, you count the tree rings and the space in between, and that will tell you about the temperature and precipitation and how long the tree lived.
    This sounds kind of dumb, but what about carbon dating? We assume the ambient carbon (or something like that) stayed the same the whole time. But didn't it change? What about between mass extinctions?
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2006 #2
    I don't see how tree rings can be reliable.

    Various factors go into a tree's growth pattern. Fertilization, sunlight, precipitation, temperature, and probably others I haven't considered. All of which can vary in different ways over the years.

    I frankly think they are fooling themselves when they say they can extract accurate temperature data from the ring width or density.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - reliable tree rings Date
Formation of petrified trees Jun 15, 2017
Can planting trees really reduce CO2 in atmosphere? Sep 10, 2015
Pine Trees in Northern Canada Nov 13, 2012
Tree rings May 3, 2010
Velocity of particles in the Ring Current Aug 27, 2009