Climate variability 50,000 years ago in mid-latitude Chile as reconstructed from tree rings

Fidel A. Roig, Carlos Le-Quesne, José A. Boninsegna, Keith R. Briffa, Antonio Lara, Håkan Grudd, Philip D. Jones, Carolina Villagrán

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77 Citations (Scopus)


High-resolution proxies of past climate are essential for a better understanding of the climate system. Tree rings are routinely used to reconstruct Holocene climate variations at high temporal resolution, but only rarely have they offered insight into climate variability during earlier periods. Fitzroya cupressoides - a South American conifer which attains ages up to 3,600 years - has been shown to record summer temperatures in northern Patagonia during the past few millennia. Here we report a floating 1,229-year chronology developed from subfossil stumps of E cupressoides in southern Chile that dates back to approximately 50,000 14C years before present. We use this chronology to calculate the spectral characteristics of climate variability in this time, which was probably an interstadial (relatively warm) period. Growth oscillations at periods of 150-250, 87-94, 45.5, 24.1, 17.8, 9.3 and 2.7-5.3 years are identified in the annual subfossil record. A comparison with the power spectra of chronologies derived from living F. cupressoides trees shows strong similarities with the 50,000-year-old chronology, indicating that similar growth forcing factors operated in this glacial interstadial phase as in the current interglacial conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-570
Number of pages4
Issue number6828
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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