Determining the response of forest growth and productivity to climate variability is crucial for understanding and modeling forest carbon sequestration in mesic temperate forests. Most tree-ring analyses have used monthly climate data. Daily climate data may be more appropriate to use in the determination of tree-ring response to climate because cell division, enlargement, and thickening occur during discrete periods of the growing season. We analyze annual tree-ring width and δ13C from Tsuga canadensis (1992–2012) at ten sites in the northeastern US to test the null hypothesis that tree-ring width and δ13C respond similarly to critical climate periods using daily climate data and linear regression. There was a significant difference in the climate response of ring width and δ13C. Precipitation predicted both δ13C and ring width with the highest r2 and greatest level of significance overall. δ13C integrated climate over longer periods of the year (and previous year) than ring width at most sites. δ13C showed a more consistent seasonal signal across sites for each climate variable than ring width. Our work provides a new perspective on the response of annual tree growth and δ13C to climatic variability that can inform ecosystem productivity, carbon cycle, and earth system models.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Atmospheric Science