Response of High-latitude Forests to a Warmer and CO2-enriched Atmosphere: Tree Rings in a Process-based Model


Temperatures in Arctic and subarctic North America have been rising in recent years and are projected to continue to rise. Furthermore, atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing around the globe. This project will evaluate the response of white spruce to these ongoing changes. It will use archived samples from ten sites, standard tree-ring methodologies supplemented by novel chemical analyses, and numerical models to understand tree growth response to changing environmental drivers.

The project will advance the use of tree-ring data in understanding forest growth responses to natural and anthropogenic forcings. This project represents an interdisciplinary opportunity to combine three distinct disciplines: (1) basic dendrochronological techniques, which allow for precisely-dated, quantitative and verifiable long-term tree-ring records; (2) low temperature geochemical tools to measure carbon and oxygen stable isotopes ratios that will independently reflect environmental variables including temperature, precipitation, relative humidity and long-term physiological information on water use efficiency in natural forests; and (3) the joint use of a process-based mechanistic model, MAIDENiso, to distinguish between the confounding effects of increases in temperatures and atmospheric CO2 and to predict boreal forest response under different scenarios, and the NASA GISS ModelE2 general circulation model to provide inputs to MAIDENiso.


This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Polar Programs (OPP), Arctic Natural Sciences (ANS) Program.