Reconstructing Northeastern United States temperatures using Atlantic white cedar tree rings Academic Article uri icon


  • Our knowledge of climate variability in the densely populated Northeastern United States is limited to instrumental data of the last century. Most regional paleoclimate proxies reflect a mix of climate responses, which makes reconstructing historical climate a challenge. Here we analyze tree-ring chronologies from Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) as a potential regional paleotemperature proxy. We evaluate our tree-ring network for spatiotemporal climate signal strength and reconstruction skill across New England. Atlantic white cedar sites in the northern section of the species' range exhibit positive significant annual growth relationships with local and regional temperatures. Chronologies constructed from northern sites yield skillful reconstructions of temperature that reproduce centennial, multidecadal, and interannual variability in the instrumental record, providing a novel paleotemperature record for New England.

publication date

  • November 1, 2017