Facts about tree ring dating

NOTE TO READERS You may notice that the principles below represent a major change in the way we approach dendrochronology.This is because, as a scientific discipline evolves, so too must the principles to which it adheres. I kept adding new principles while simultaneously revising or even deleting long familiar principles.Crossdating is considered fundamental principle of dendrochronology – without the precision given by crossdating, the dating of tree rings would be nothing more than simple ring counting! Baillie said it best in his 1982 book (page 263): "A tree-ring sample either dates or it does not.

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Example: analyzing ring widths of trees to determine how much rainfall fell per year long before weather records were kept.

The science that uses tree rings to study factors that affect the earth's ecosystems.

I'm sure, over time, we may find that one or more principles below are not really needed or that new principles need to be introduced. This principle was most applied to reconstructions of past climate, assuming that the climate response seen in trees during modern times was the same as the climate response in trees during previous times.

Study after study has now shown this not to be the case.

Example: dating when trees were inundated by water to determine the sequence of lake level changes over time.

The science that uses tree rings to date and study past and present changes in wildfires.

Example: dating the inside rings of trees on moraines to establish the approximate date of a glacial advance.

The science that uses tree rings to study changes in river flow, surface runoff, and lake levels.

A tree-ring chronology therefore represents departures of growth for any one year compared to average growth.

For example, an index of 0.75 (or 75) for a given year indicates growth below normal (indicated by 1.00, or 100).

We DO NOT give "possible" dates or dates with a plus or minus factor!

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