When I wrote The Tree Rings’ Tale, its organizational premise was that tree rings are storytellers.
Park Williams latest research, which I featured in this morning’s Albuquerque Journal, combines tree ring records for the southwestern United States with contemporary climate data, fire data, tree mortality data and future modeling results to tell a frankly stark story:
If climate trends follow even the most conservative projections from scientists who study the effects of rising greenhouse gases, the work by Williams and his colleagues suggests a warming climate will push the Southwest’s forests by the middle of the 21st century into a regime in which the worst tree-killing drought conditions of the last thousand years become the norm.
Temperature as a potent driver of regional forest drought stress and tree mortality, Williams et al., Nature Climate Change (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1693
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