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Title: The response of pine trees to climate in the southern French Alps and the palaeoclimatic potential of stable carbon isotope ratios from treerings
Author: Gagen, M. H.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis is grounded in Quaternary and global change science and considers the application of proxy analogues to reconstruct past climate. Latewood width, wood density and latewood holo cellulose δ13C series were compiled from treeline pine trees from the southern French Alps, with the aim of comparing and contrasting the types of climate information preserved in the three proxies and assessing the potential of δ13C for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Two main research questions were identified. First, what climate parameters might be reconstructed from the annual δ13C series? Second, how useful is the δ13C calibration for reconstructing palaeoclimate compared to ringwidth and density series? The calibration stage formed the bulk of the analysis. It was revealed that δ13C ratios are strongly controlled by growth season moisture stress, in a relationship that appears to have a high degree of temporal stability. The potential exists, therefore, for extracting a strong moisture-stress signal form long δ13C series from this region. It is argued that, lower frequency signal strength is often dramatically reduced or lost when short ringwidth and density series are standardised to remove growth trends. This thesis presents evidence to suggest that sub- to decadal frequency climate signals can be retained in δ13C series. It is concluded that there is great potential for reconstructing palaeoclimate with δ13C treering series. δ13C ratios are fixed by a simple biological process that is well understood, and are not greatly affected by site and stand characteristics, making the series far less 'noisy' than equivalent growth proxy data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available