You’ve all seen my frustration with Jacoby and his doctrine of a "few good men". I haven’t posted on this, but, one thing that puzzled me was some missing inventory numbers at Polar Urals, just before the critical trees 45, 46 and 47 (upon which the "coldest year of the millennium" depends.
Here’s a comment from Esper et al. (Cook, Krusic, Peters, Schweingruber) from Tree Ring Res. 2003, p.92, which may shed some light on this. Tree Ring Research, unlike Science, is intended for narrow circulation.
Before venturing into the subject of sample depth and chronology quality, we state from the beginning, "more is always better". However as we mentioned earlier on the subject of biological growth populations, this does not mean that one could not improve a chronology by reducing the number of series used if the purpose of removing samples is to enhance a desired signal. The ability to pick and choose which samples to use is an advantage unique to dendroclimatology. That said, it begs the question: how low can we go?
It is taking all my will power to avoid making a sarcastic comment or making a slightly out-of-context rhetorical answer to the last question.