Most of us are familiar with counting the rings on a tree stump to see how old the tree was before it was cut. But did you know that tree rings can tell us a lot more, including how much climate has changed, how much it rained each year for the past 1000 years and more.
Long tree-ring records from ancient trees provide one of the best records of past climatic and environmental change on Earth. We can use them for environmental impact assessment on past societies and cultures, and accurately date the exact years of certain events like past forest fires similar to what is happening now in California. This lecture will introduce you to the science of dendrochronology—the study of tree rings and trees themselves—featuring examples of how tree rings can provide unparalleled insights into past and present climate change and its environmental impacts.
Edward R. Cook is Ewing Lamont Research Professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. His educational background comes from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. With Gordon Jacoby, Ed co-founded the Tree-Ring Laboratory at Lamont in 1975 and is currently its Director. His research accomplishments have emphasized the development of new statistical methods for processing tree-ring data, the development of networks of tree-ring chronologies for climate reconstruction, and the reconstruction of climate from tree rings around the world.
These long-term research activities have resulted in the development of drought atlases—continental-scale reconstructions of drought from tree rings—covering most of the North Hemisphere: the North America Drought Atlas (NADA), the Monsoon Asia Drought Atlas (MADA), and the Old World Drought Atlas (OWDA). They cover most of the last 2000 years and are being used extensively by climatologists, ecologists, foresters, and historians.
This event is being organized and hosted by the Explorer's Club.
The Climate Group has selected the Columbia Climate School as its university partner for this year’s Climate Week NYC. Running Sept. 20-26, Climate Week NYC convenes key climate leaders to accelerate climate action and discuss ambitious commitments ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, or COP26, later this fall in Glasgow.