Paper No. 7-8
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
TRACING STORMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH TREE-RING GROWTH PATTERNS ON COASTAL MARITIME FORESTS IN NY AND NJ
This project focuses on coastal maritime forests located on Sandy Hook, NJ, Fire Island, NY, and Montauk NY, in an attempt to understand if major tropical cyclone activity is recorded in the tree-ring record and to determine how trees are responding to climate. Specifically, we aim to examine ring damage and/or growth releases in tree ring records as a result of severe storm events and/or saltwater inundation. Due to anthropogenic climate change creating more severe storms and rising sea levels, this study has become increasingly relevant and important in creating necessary foundational research on these unique forests. Cores were sampled from dominant tree species at the study sites. Following sample preparation, we measured tree-ring width and density using a high resolution scanner and CooRecorder, image analysis software. Using Coo-Recorder we will also evaluate Blue Intensity (BI), a relatively new image analysis derived methodology that analyzes the blue component of visible light reflected from scanned images of tree-ring cores. BI has been broadly interpreted as an indirect proxy measurement of wood density and can result in a stronger paleoclimate reconstructions. Once the RW and BI chronologies have been constructed using rigorous cross-dating techniques, we will use the site-specific meteorological data to determine the climate signal. We will also evaluate the oxygen isotopic composition of each ring in several of the older tree specimens to better understand the atmospheric dynamics, and potentially ‘fingerprint’ major storm events. Some of the trees sampled for this study date back to the late 1700s and will provide extended insights into forests response to climate change and storm frequency in this region.