Valmore Lamarche was perhaps the first person to suggest that temperature information could be extracted from bristlecone pine information and his early publications are often referenced. Lamarche et al.  (with Fritts, Graybill and Rose) first postulated CO2 fertilization. As you know, I’m increasingly interested in changes in treeline elevation as a "low-frequency proxy". It turns out that Lamarche was as well. Lamarche  contains an analysis of Holocene treeline variations at the key bristlecone sites of Sheep Mountain and Campito Mountain.
I’ve collected a large number of Lamarche articles over the past 18 months and would like to collect them all. His articles typically report on the sites which are sampled, with information on the geology, ecology, climate etc. By contrast, many more recent studies seem to jump into a discussion of the ring width or MXD "chronologies" and statistical manipulations thereon, while leaving the actual site undescribed. (These later articles all seem to end with a moral about global warming. When I read the genuflections of Zhu  towards the Great Helmsman, I thought that the form of the genuflections were not dissimilar, if I may be permitted this observation without being accused of sarcasm.)
Lamarche’s relatively careful site descriptions undoubtedly reflect his training as a geologist. Geologists are trained to be careful observers and faithful reporters. They can theorize afterwards, but recording comes first. They are also trained to describe the context. In Canada, where there are many mineral exploration prospectuses, these requirements carry over even into qualifying report standards and prospectus standards for such offerings. I did not receive any formal geological training, but I’ve worked with geologists for many years and have learned to admire their systematic reports. These property reports are different formats from what geologists write in academic journals, which look like any other type of academic literature. However, their absence from dendroclimatic studies makes any efforts for third-party review and due diligence needlessly difficult.
As a passing thought, if I had a big policy job in which I needed to make a decision on climate policy, I would make up a commission of independent experts, which would include competent scientists, but which would not include any climate scientists actively involved in the debate. (They would be invited to make submissions to the panel.) While the people in the debate are smart and knowledgeable people, academics have a vested interest in showing that they are "right", which makes it impossible for them to be objective. Money is not the only form of bias in the world. I would make sure that some practicing geologists were heavily involved in the commission, because they have lots of relevant experience and, by and large, good judgement. (I’m told that they were very popular as intelligence officers in the Canadian armed forces in World WarII, because of their training to make sensible decisions on incomplete information.) I’d also have some medical people with statistical backgrounds and some statisticians. I’d probably ask one of the learned societies to nominate some candidates, but I wouldn’t leave it up to them to make their own panel.
I’ll get to Lamarche after one more digression. Lamarche’s protege, Donald Graybill, who collected the balance of the bristlecone ring width measurements in present-day use, did an undergraduate degree in sociology and a Ph.D. in anthropology at Tucson. I guess that he ran into tree ring studies in anthropological dating. He taught for a few years as an anthropologist, before returning to carry out tree ring research. We sometimes hear about the need to rely on proxy collections in the 1970s and 1980s because of the expense and difficulty of making the collections. I’ve someitmes made fun of this excuse, pointing out that exploration geologists also go all over the world and report in a timely basis. Is it coincidence that the main bristlecone collections were made by people who trained in geology and sociology/anthropology respectively?
Lamarche  commences with a review of what was then known about Holocene treeline variations, which I excerpt at length below, together with (unusually for my posts here), a listing of some of the older literature, in case people are interested. I’ll post tomorrow on what he found at Sheep Mountain and Campito Mountain, two essential Hockey Team sites.
The position of the treeline is a valuable paleoclimatic indicator because temperature is an important factor in determining the altitudinal and latitudinal limits of tree growth…
There is evidence of broadly synchronous advances and retreats during the past several thousand years at many plaices in the northern hemisphere. In northern Europe, stumps and other remains of pine (P. sylvestris L.) beyond the present tree limit have long been known to mark earlier more northerly forest extensions. Hustich  shows the distribution of such find in northern Finland and Norway. Citing dates from Andreev  and Tikhomirov , he correlates the advanced treeline position with the “post-glacial thermal maximum”. In the Calendonian Mountains in Sweden, pine stumps are found in bogs up to 150 m above the highest nearby living trees. Radiocarbon dates place most of these remnants between 8000 and 3000 radiocarbon years BP, within the same postglacial warm period. Lamb  obtained a radiocarbon date of 4400 BP for a log from a bog in northwest Scotland. It …To the south the altitudinal treeline in the Alps may have been as much as 300 m higher than at present during this period [Ludi, 1955]…
McCullough and Hopkins  found birch and spruce logs outside the present range of these species in the Seward Peninsula of northwest Alaska. Together with other evidences, these logs suggest a warm period beginning at least 10,000 BP and continuing to about 8300 years BP…Ritchie and Hare  review the evidence for past changes in position of treeline in northwestern North America. .new pollen and megafossil evidence from Mackenzie Delta, together with radiocarbon dating of a rooted stump well north of the present treeline, suggest a period much warmer than present since about 4000 BP. A detailed treeline history has been worked out for the area west of Hudson Bay in northern Canada (Bryson et al, 1965; Sorensen et al 1971, Nichols, 1967)….forests moved northward following deglaciation and lake-draining about 5800 BP. Two separate northward advances, separated by periods of retreat followed, culminating about 2500 BP and 1000 BP respectively. …Jungerius  also documented a major treeline advance in eastern Alberta between 4500 and 3600 BP.
Evidence of higher past treeline levels has been found at several localities in western United States, …In his work in the La Sal Mountains of southeastern Utah, Richmond  related relict podzolic soils at high altitudes to a treeline advance up to 300 m above present levels during the “altithermal of postglacial optimum” prior to 2800 BP. A more recent advance, followed by retreat, is indicated by stands of large dead trunks that extend perhaps 100 m above present treeline. The death of the trees is attributed to cooler conditions during the historic Little Ice Age, which did not end until the 1800s. Curry 1968 also described dead trees at high elevations and interpreted these as evidence for previous higher treeline position at many points in the Sierra Nevada, California.
If anyone wishes to contribute a short summary of any of these articles,I’ll post it up.
Lamarche, V., 1973. Holocene climatic variations inferred from treeline fluctuations in the White Mountains, California. Quat. Rese 2, 632, 660.
Hustich, 1966. Annals of the University of Turku A. II: 36 (rep. Kevo Subarctic Station 3) 7-47.
Lamb 1964. QJ Roy Met Soc. 90, 382-394.
Ludi, 1955. Ber Geobot Forschunginst Rubel (Zurich) 36-38
Richmond, 1962. US Geol Surv Prof Paper 324, 1-135.
Richmond, 1972. Quat Res 2, 315-322
McCoullough and Hopkins 1966. Geol Soc Am Bull 77, 1089-1108
Ritchie and Hare 1971. Quat Res 1, 331-342.
Bryson et al 1965. Science 147, 45-48
Bryson, 1966. Geog Bull 8, 228-269.
Nichols, 1967. Eiszeitalter and Gegenwart 18, 176-197
Sorensen et al 1971, Quat Res 1, 468-473
Jungerius 1969. Arc Alp Res 1, 235-245.