Evaluating the dendroclimatological potential of blue intensity on multiple conifer species from Tasmania and New Zealand
Wilson, R and Allen, K and Baker, P and Boswijk, G and Buckley, B and Cook, E and D'Arrigo, R and Druckenbrod, D and Fowler, A and Grandjean, M and Krusic, P and Palmer, J, Evaluating the dendroclimatological potential of blue intensity on multiple conifer species from Tasmania and New Zealand, Biogeosciences, 18, (24) pp. 6393-6421. ISSN 1726-4170 (2021) [Refereed Article]
We evaluate a range of blue intensity (BI) tree-ring parameters in eight conifer species (12 sites) from Tasmania and New Zealand for their dendroclimatic potential, and as surrogate wood anatomical proxies. Using a dataset of ca. 10–15 trees per site, we measured earlywood maximum blue intensity (EWB), latewood minimum blue intensity (LWB), and the associated delta blue intensity (DB) parameter for dendrochronological analysis. No resin extraction was performed, impacting low-frequency trends. Therefore, we focused only on the high-frequency signal by detrending all tree-ring and climate data using a 20-year cubic smoothing spline. All BI parameters express low relative variance and weak signal strength compared to ring width. Correlation analysis and principal component regression experiments identified a weak and variable climate response for most ring-width chronologies. However, for most sites, the EWB data, despite weak signal strength, expressed strong coherence with summer temperatures. Significant correlations for LWB were also noted, but the sign of the relationship for most species is opposite to that reported for all conifer species in the Northern Hemisphere. DB results were mixed but performed better for the Tasmanian sites when combined through principal component regression methods than for New Zealand. Using the full multi-species/parameter network, excellent summer temperature calibration was identified for both Tasmania and New Zealand ranging from 52 % to 78 % explained variance for split periods (1901–1950/1951–1995), with equally robust independent validation (coefficient of efficiency = 0.41 to 0.77). Comparison of the Tasmanian BI reconstruction with a quantitative wood anatomical (QWA) reconstruction shows that these parameters record essentially the same strong high-frequency summer temperature signal. Despite these excellent results, a substantial challenge exists with the capture of potential secular-scale climate trends. Although DB, band-pass, and other signal processing methods may help with this issue, substantially more experimentation is needed in conjunction with comparative analysis with ring density and QWA measurements.
dendroclimatology, blue light intensity, conifers, Tasmania, New Zealand