Carnegie PhD Scholar awarded Robertson Medal 2023-24
Project Title: Reconstructing Summer Temperatures from Tree-rings in the Southern Yukon, Canada
Warming is seen in most locations around the world. It is not called “Global Warming” for nothing. Placing modern warming in the context of the past is important to understand how extreme current conditions are. However, our understanding of past temperature change is spotty, and surprisingly, one of the regions we know least about is northern North America.
How does one study past climate? The growth of trees is a function of climate, and therefore the rings in trees can be used to provide important seasonal climate information. My project will utilise tree-ring records from white spruce trees in the southern Yukon to develop a 1000+ year long summer temperature reconstruction. On average, spruce trees in the southern Yukon are around 200-250 years old. To extend the record back in time, preserved tree stems will be sampled from lakes within the region. The rings of these samples can be pattern matched with the living record and dated exactly, allowing extension back in time. This study, by incorporating similar datasets from British Columbia, Gulf of Alaska, and the Mackenzie Delta region, will provide spatial information of climate change for NW America as well as examine forest resilience to regional warming.
Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship
University: University of St Andrews