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Title: The dendroclimatology of modern and neolithic scots pine (Pinus sylvestris l.) in the peatlands of northern Scotland
Author: Moir, Andy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 9032
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2008
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For the first time in northern Scotland, Modern tree-ring chronologies for Scots pine growing on peat are compared against those growing on mineral substrates. Mean tree-ring growth of pine on active bogs/mires is found to be limited to 0.5 to 1 mm yr-1, compared to ≥1.5 mm yr-1 on adjacent mineral sites. Almost instant change of radial growth rates in response to changes in water levels highlights the potential use of pine in reconstructions of lake levels and water tables in bog and mire. Dendroclimatological analysis identifies January and February temperatures to often be more important than summer temperature. Positive correlation of ring-width and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) indices also occur in January and February. Lower winter temperatures, due to increased altitude and distance from the moderating effects of the ocean, may be important in limiting tree growth near its northern margin. Moving correlation functions identify a widespread reduction in the response of pine growing on both substrates from the 1920s. Nine subfossil pine site chronologies located beyond the species current northern limit are cross-matched to form a chronology called WRATH-9. This chronology is tentatively crossdated against Irish pine chronologies to provide the first picture of Neolithic Scots pines 200 year expansion from c. 3200 BC and subsequent 250 year retreat across northern Scotland at annual resolution. The mean orientation of maximum radial growth at eleven modern pine sites is found to coincide well with the W/SW prevailing wind, suggesting Scots pine may provide a good proxy indicator of wind. Six coeval Neolithic sites indicate a broadly consistent northerly prevailing wind. This provides tentative evidence for a change of prevailing wind that may be related to a southward incursion of the polar front in the eastern N. Atlantic. The potential of this exciting subfield of dendroclimatological analysis is called dendroaeology and is highlighted for further research.
Supervisor: Leroy, S. ; Collins, P. E. F. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dendrochronology ; Subfossil wood ; Climate change ; Pine decline ; Tree-ring analysis