Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Abstract (EDOC: 14955)
Tree-ring widths and stable carbon and oxygen isotopes of five European larch trees from Lötschental, Switzerland were investigated for the period 1900–2004. The objective was to test the suitability of each of these parameters for high-frequency climate reconstructions. This is of special interest with regard to the problem of cyclic larch budmoth (LBM) infestations of alpine larch trees. The results clearly demonstrate that tree-ring width chronologies are not suitable for high-frequency reconstructions because infestations lead to variably reduced tree-ring increments, largely suppressing climate signals. On the other hand, the stable isotope chronologies proved less affected by larch budmoth outbreaks, independent of the strength of the infestations. The correlation of the carbon isotopes with summer temperatures was especially high (r = 0.73) and with precipitation lower but nevertheless significant (r = −0.43). Oxygen isotopes were also correlated with summer temperature (r = 0.46); however, a certain perturbation of normal oxygen isotope signatures due to LBM outbreaks was evident. Contrary to tree-ring widths, none of the LBM outbreaks caused a significant disturbance of the current year’s isotopic climate signal and, most importantly, there were no delayed effects in the following years. Thus, stable carbon isotopes in tree-ring chronologies of the European larch provide an excellent opportunity for high-frequency temperature reconstructions.
(2010): Consequences of larch budmoth outbreaks on the climatic significance of ring width and stable isotopes of larch. Trees - Structure and Function, 24, 3, 399-409.