Yellow-cedar blue intensity tree-ring chronologies as records of climate in Juneau, Alaska, USA

Publication: Canadian Journal of Forest Research
5 September 2019


This is the first study to generate and analyze the climate signal in blue intensity (BI) tree-ring chronologies from Alaska yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst. ex D.P. Little). The latewood BI chronology shows a much stronger temperature sensitivity than ring width and can thus provide information on past climate. The well-replicated BI chronology exhibits a positive January–August mean maximum temperature signal for 1900–1975, after which it loses temperature sensitivity following the 1976–1977 shift in northeastern Pacific climate. The positive temperature response appears to recover and remains strong for the most recent decades, but the coming years will continue to test this observation. This temporary loss of temperature sensitivity from about 1976 to 1999 is not evident in ring width or in a change in forest health but is consistent with prior work linking cedar decline to warming. A confounding factor is the uncertain influence of a shift in color variation from the heartwood–sapwood boundary. Future expansion of the yellow-cedar BI network and further investigation of the influence of the heartwood–sapwood transitions in the BI signal will lead to a better understanding of the utility of this species as a climate proxy.


Cette étude est la première à générer et analyser le signal climatique dans des séries dendrochronologiques construites à partir de l’intensité de la lumière bleue (IB) reflétée par les cernes annuels du faux-cyprès de Nootka (Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst. ex D.P. Little). La chronologie IB reliée à la densité maximum du bois final est beaucoup plus sensible à la température que la largeur des cernes annuels et fournit par conséquent de l’information sur le climat passé. La chronologie IB bien répétée révèle un signal positif de la température maximum moyenne de janvier à août de 1900 à 1975, après quoi la sensibilité à la température disparaît à la suite du changement du climat dans le nord-est du Pacifique en 1976–1977. La réponse positive de la température semble se rétablir et demeure forte pour les plus récentes décennies mais cette observation devra subir l’épreuve du temps. Cette perte temporaire de sensibilité à la température de 1976 à 1999 environ n’est pas évidente dans la largeur des cernes annuels ni dans un changement dans l’état de santé de la forêt, mais elle correspond aux résultats de travaux antérieurs reliant le dépérissement du faux-cyprès au réchauffement. L’influence incertaine d’un changement dans la variation de la couleur à la limite entre le bois de cœur et le bois d’aubier est un facteur de confusion. L’expansion future du réseau IB du faux-cyprès de Nootka et la poursuite de l’étude de l’influence de la transition entre le bois d’aubier et le bois de cœur dans le signal IB mèneront à une meilleure compréhension de l’utilité de cette espèce comme indicateur indirect du climat. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

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Published In

cover image Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Volume 49Number 12December 2019
Pages: 1483 - 1492


Received: 10 December 2018
Accepted: 18 August 2019
Published online: 5 September 2019


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Key Words

  1. yellow-cedar
  2. blue intensity
  3. tree rings
  4. dendroclimatology
  5. Alaska


  1. faux-cyprès de Nootka
  2. intensité de la lumière bleue
  3. cernes annuels
  4. dendroclimatologie
  5. Alaska



Gregory C. Wiles
Department of Earth Sciences, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691, USA.
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.
Joshua Charlton
Department of Earth Sciences, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691, USA.
Rob J.S. Wilson
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews KY16 9AL, Scotland, UK.
Rosanne D. D’Arrigo
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.
Brian Buma
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80204, USA.
John Krapek
Department of Natural Sciences, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, AK 99801, USA.
Benjamin V. Gaglioti
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.
Water and Environmental Research Center, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.
Nicholas Wiesenberg
Department of Earth Sciences, The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 44691, USA.
Rose Oelkers
Tree-Ring Lab, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.


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