New Light on the Lost Cedars of Gaspé

A data set that was almost as controversial in MBH98 as the Graybill bristlecones was the Gaspé cedar chronology used by Jacoby and d’Arrigo. An interesting new cedar chronology from Quebec has just appeared at NCDC, shown below. The third chronology shown below is an unreported update to the Gaspé series. I reported the unreported update in a 2005 post (see comments by Martin Wilmking, a young dendro interested in the divergence issue). Also see 2007 discussion here.


Figure 1. Three Quebec White Cedar Chronologies.

The red chronology is cana036 (St Anne’s River), a chronology used in Jacoby and D’Arrigo 1989, 1992; a chronology that was as important in the AD1400 network as the bristlecone PC1. (We discussed it at length in MM2005 (EE); our attention was attracted to it because, out of 435 series in MBH, it was the only series where early values had been “infilled”, presumably in order to “get” it into the troublesome 1400 network.)

The green chronology is a digitized version of an unpublished update that I obtained somewhat by accident. As I reported in some early CA posts here, here and here , Jacoby and d’Arrigo did not publish the updated information, refused to provide a digital version of the update and refused to identify the location of either the original site or the update. In the linked post, I provide Jacoby’s “a few good men” explanation of why not all data should be reported; D’Arrigo is the dendro who explained to an astonished NAS panel that “you have to pick cherries if you want to make cherry pie”. Jacoby was very big on the idea that trees could teleconnect to world climate bypassing local climate, an idea that achieved its most Rococo implementation in the Mann papers. The HS shaped Gaspé chronology is used in Rutherford et al 2005, Mann et al 2007 and Mann et al 2008.

The Gaspé chronology was never published in a proper study – the only publication that I’ve seen is by Sheppard and Cook in a recreational magazine, where they observe that little was known of cedar chronologies and other studies. Some of the leading cedar specialists in the world are at Ross’ university (Guelph) and they explained to us in 2004 that cedars grow best in cool moist years.

The new data (C. Dagneau and D. Duchaine) goes from 1540-2005 and is also white cedar from Quebec. It has a 0.41 correlation to the withheld Gaspé update and only 0.12 to the questionable data used in Mann and other studies. (Note: The elevation of the timbers in this study is not known. Neither is the elevation of the cana036 (St Anne’s River) series with the pronounced HS shape and, as noted, above, Jacoby refused to provide information on the location. Presumably the unreported update version was at similar elevation to the original Cook sample, whatever that was. Rob Wilson has also incorporated European historical timbers with uncertain provenance into altitude chronologies, though I’ve not determined whether there are considerations that he employed that are inapplicable here. A proper comparison obviously requires updating the proxies – something long overdue in Gaspé and the reason why I originally requested location information from Jacoby, as it was then my intent to re-sample these trees.)

I recently reported on the inconsistency between new data versions and Team data versions at Sheep Mountain, Tornetrask and Polar Urals. Gaspé is one more example. It is hard for me to see how objective scientists could use such data without showing its validity.

Update: Reader Reference observes:

This site looks interesting, http://www.foretgaspesie-les-iles.ca/ Ah now, how about this pdf report? Regeneration dynamics of Thuja Occidentalis L. in old mesic cedar stands on the Gaspé Peninsula. A natural regeneration study of Eastern White Cedar? Always wanted to know why it is so hard to grow Thuja sp. from seed. (OT).

Wow, look at the spiral twist on those trunks, need to take care orientating the core barrel there. Let’s see now, where are these beauties located? Rivière Dartmouth watershed 49 01’N 64 50’W, 8% slope, (click on the Terrain button and Zoom out a bit). Inside the Forillon National Park? Oops, I’ll probably need permits to study there….

Let’s try this location in the Réserve écologique de la Grande Rivèrie watershed 48 36’N 64 49’W (definitely need permits here!), 4% slope circa 200m elevation. Mesic slope?, mineral flush, plenty of ground water, all a Thuja needs for a long and happy life.

Update 2; My correspondence asking for data;
Here is correspondence regarding Gaspe prior to CA being started. It’s as polite as anyone could ask. And CA didn’t exist. After a year of effort, I got nothing. This obviously not an isolated incident.

3/19/2004
Dear Dr Cook,
I note that you collected this site (cana036) many years ago. I was wondering if you published on this site and, if so, could provide me a reference. Thanks, Steve McIntyre

3/22/2004
I have not published anything about this chronology. Gordon Jacoby and Rosanne D’Arrigo have used it however in some of their climate reconstructions. You will need to contact them for references.
Ed

3/22/2004
Thanks for the reply. I’ve seen the Jacoby-d’Arrigo references and, in fact, that’s what occasioned my interest. It was included in their “northern treeline” index – which seemed a little odd to me, since the site is far from the treeline. I also notice that the earliest portion of the chronology (not used by Jacoby and d’Arrigo) is based only on one tree. If you were doing the chronology today, would you include the portion based on only one tree in your site chronology? Also do you know (from past notes or otherwise) any details about potential logging or other forestry operations in the area?
Thanks, Steve McIntyre

3/29/2004
Dear Ed,
Curiously, this site has an extraordinarily large (and disproportionate) influence in the results of Mann et al (1998). I’m planning to get a tree ring specialist from Quebec to re-visit the site. Do you by any chance have a map (or other description) of your sample locations which you could send me?

Also, the early part of the archived chronology is based on only one tree. Would it be fair to say that if you were to re-do the chronology today, you would not publish the portion of the chronology relying on only one tree?
Thanks, Steve McIntyre

4/12/2004
Hi, bringing forward this inquiry again and checking whether you had a map of the sample locations for cana036? Thanks, Steve McIntyre

4/14/2004
Dear Rosanne,
I [understand] that there is some data extending Ed Cook’s archived data (ending in 1982) up to 1991. It is highly relevant to some studies that I am currently carrying out and I would appreciate the updated series version both in crn and rwl forms. Thank you for your attention.
Regards, Steve McIntyre

4/14/2004 [communicated from Rosanne]
the data you have are probably superior with regards to a NH signal.

5/5/2004
Dear Dr. Cook,
I was hoping that you could attend to this inquiry. I was hoping to get to this site in June or July. It’s also my understanding that other unarchived data from Gaspe has been collected by LDEO and I would appreciate information on this as well. Thank you for your attention.
Regards,
Steve McIntyre

8/23/2004
Dear Dr. Cook, I’ve run across short discussions of this chronology in Sheppard and Cook, Natural Areas Journal (1988) and again in Cook and Peters (1987). I would like to arrange for someone to visit this site prior to winter and would appreciate particulars on its exact location.
In the Natural Areas Journal article, you also reference a cedar site in Michigan which has not been archived. I presume that the pending cedar site in Maine refers to Sag Pond – is this correct?
Regards, Steve McIntyre

9/24/2004
will send something to you next week.
Ed

10/15/2004
Any progress with this?
Steve

10/15/2004
Hi Steve,
I will do my best next week. I have been a bit over the top on things lately.
Ed

11/16/2004
Any progress on this?
Steve

1/31/2005
Dear Dr. Cook, as I mentioned in my email to Connie Woodhouse, I would appreciate a listing of the sites used in your interest recent article in Science , Cook et al [2004], preferably in a format that includes ITRDB codes where available. Connie Woodhouse mentioned that you travel frequently – which is certainly evident from the varied places that you have reported on. I think that it would be a good idea to simply archive the listing as an additional SI, but in any event, I would appreciate the listing. Thanks, Steve McIntyre

PS if you’ve had an opportunity to locate the exact location of the Ste Anne River, Gaspe tree series, I would appreciate it. I’ve had no luck getting the 1991 update to this series from Dr Jacoby, all of which is quite frustrating, and lends itself to criticism.

2/4/2005
Dear Connie, I’ve sent a request to Cook without any acknowledgement. In view of Cook’s previous behaviour, I do not think that the problem arises from Cook’s travel. In your capacity as a co-author, I re-iterate my request for identification of the sites and, if you do not have the information, request that you take responsibility for obtaining the information and then forwarding to me. I’m tired of sending unacknowledged emails to Cook. Regards, Steve McIntyre
Update 3:
Francois and Bender, I might have found the Gaspe cedar location. Take a look here here . Right description, right location AND, like Graybill sites, easy access.

Original Caption: headwaters of the Ste Anne River

On the morning of our second day, we started our ‘serious’ exploration of the Gaspé by driving north up the 86-mile valley of the Grand Cascapedia River, which rises near the Chic Choc mountains in the central part of the peninsula. Highway 299 is a great road, with very little traffic, winding its way between the fast-flowing river and forest covered hills.

It was about 11:30 AM by the time we reached the Gite du Mont-Albert area of Gaspésie Provincial Park, the main starting point for tourist activities in this part of Quebec, renowned for its hiking and winter-skiing activities.

After paying our C$3.50 per person day-use fee at the Interpretive Centre, Sue and I confirmed that the higher trails leading into the peaks were still closed due to snow depth, so we decided to at least try the relatively short ‘Belvedere (Lookout) de la Lucarne’ route. Here, Sue is starting up the trail through the forest shortly after noon and the 2nd photo shows me with some of the peaks in the background as we emerge in a clearing higher up the slope. The 3rd photo shows one of the trail signposts to help keep us sorted out on the interconnecting system (along with a small map that I had printed from the internet before leaving home). In less than a half-hour, we had reached the wooden ‘belvedere’ on a small rise, where we had great views of the mountains in all directions (4th and 5th photos). Because the trails are interconnected, we decided to continue onward down the slopes to the nearby Sainte-Anne River and circle back to the Gite area by a different route….

We had noticed many piles of Moose droppings as we ascended and, sure enough, only a few minutes after leaving the belvedere we stumbled upon one of these large beasts browsing beside the trail. It was as surprised as we were and ambled off into the forest before I could draw my camera!

After descending from our Lucarne ‘lookout’ perch, we crossed Highway 299 and quickly encountered the narrow upstream reaches of the Sainte-Anne River as seen here. A very well-built pedestrian bridge (2nd photo) allowed for easy crossing and we were soon exploring along the banks of this fast-flowing and clear body of water. We had brought a cooler with us when we left on this Gaspé trip and used supplies from it to make ourselves some cheese and tomatoe sandwiches before setting of on the hike. There were not a lot of dry places to sit in the forest this early in the season, but we managed to find some boulders beside the river to use as seats while we enjoyed an early afternoon picnic and the sound of rushing water (3rd photo).

On our way back to our parked car, we continued along this side of the river before crossing a second foot-bridge to return to our starting point. Along the way we came across many places where winter snow was still hanging on in the shadows of the forest (4th photo) and also a few diversions off the trail because of winter blow-down trees (5th photo). Shortly after skirting that large specimen snapped off at ground level, we met two Park maintenance workers heading toward it with a chainsaw as they carried out their clean-up duties prior to the real start of the tourist season. By 2:30 PM, we were in our car and headed for the north coast, planning to stay in Ste.-Anne-des-Monts where our little stream finally reaches the St. Lawrence River.

239 Comments

  1. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    What a gosh darn surprise.

  2. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    With this Dagneau cedar update and the Ababneh bcp update, I wonder if Dr Loehle would be interested in publishing a tree-ring-based recon, to complement his non-tree-ring-based recon?

  3. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    These guys and their hockey stick tree ring series, do they even know how to core a tree? It looks like they are coring in an area of the stem where there is a traumatic growth response to heal a wound, e.g. closing around a fire scar. The idea that these 2x growth rates can be sustained over time is simply not credible.

  4. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Any idea who Dagneau and Duchaine are, and if they work here in Quebec? I suspect a bad spelling, Dagneau is probably Daigneault, and Duchaine, Duchesne. I’d like to know more about where the trees in question come from.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    Spellings are correct (a bit surprisingly). Link via ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/treering/updates/cana269.txt to authors at http://www.grdh-dendro.com . It wold be worth seeing if they want to re-sample the Gaspe cedars.

  6. Jean S
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Francois, the cited reference is this: Création d’un référentiel dendrochronologique de cèdre blanc de l’est (Thuya occidentalis) à l’Île d’Orléans, Québec. Synthèse des recherches 2002-2006.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jean S (#6),

      Jean S, “Thuja” not “Thuya”? I think the first is Latin correct nit-picking. Geoff.

  7. Joe Black
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    Interesting photographic compilation of tree cell structures for various species here:

    http://www.woodanatomy.ch/welcome.html

    (Link from the Gaspe guys.)

  8. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    In #3, by “these guys” I was obviously not referring to Dagneau & Duchaine, but the Team.

  9. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    With a name like Désirée-Emmanuelle I suspect one of the Gaspe “guys” is a gal.

  10. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Ile d’Orléans is in the St Laurent, just east of Quebec City. Another couple of hundred kilometres east and north gets you onto the south shore on the Gaspé peninsula near Ste. Anne. So these Ile d’Orléans cedars are probably somewhat “teleconnected” to the Ste. Anne cedars; they are not that far apart. Ste-Anne would have a more maritime and slightly subalpine climate compared to Ile d’Orléans – more “temperature limited” for sure.

    These guys & gals from Montréal are into architecrural dendrochronology. Not a lot of architecture in the Gaspé hills. You might need to offer them a Starbucks.

  11. Joe Black
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    OK, Gaspe Guys and Gabrielles.

  12. Stan Palmer
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    OK, Gaspe Guys and Gabrielles

    In Quebec French, guy is “gars”

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    #10. Rob Wilson has done something very similar in Europe, collecting lots of historical wood in Austria and Germany. He’d be OK with this sort of study.

  14. Joe Black
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    Guy

    French name of Norman origin, derived from the Germanic element witu, meaning wood

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    #6. Their report is fantastically better in quality than Team reports. IT seems to document the provenance of everything and would be usable in 100 years. Jacoby doesn’t even know where his samples came from.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#15),
      Notice the promptness of archiving? The studies were done from 2002-2006. Archived in 2008. Not bad.

  16. EW
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    Cedars grow well in cold and wet weather… Hmmm, I suppose other trees may prefer a bit of warmth and wet weather. Do bristlecones like it hot? The Divergence problem suggests that they don’t. So how should be such data from trees different in their growth optima reconciled into a single climate reconstruction? Are these preferences taken into account?

    • bender
      Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

      Re: EW (#17),
      That Thuja occidentalis is adapted to survive cool moist climates does not imply that that is its optimal growth condition. It is quite possible that the Ste-Anne cedar growth rates are temperature limited in the past 400 years.

  17. stan
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    “It is hard for me to see how objective scientists could use such data without showing its validity.” Agreed. I look forward to the day that objective scientists get interested in climate science. Perhaps that sounds harsh, but any scientist who knows these facts and chooses not to raise the alarm is doing irreparable harm to the public reputation of science and serious harm to billions of people. Hence, objective scientists need to take affirmative steps to insure that such data are not allowed to pollute the realm of science.

  18. anna v
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    Am I the only one who has read about the way trees seem to have a thermostat that controls their temperature ?

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91392910

    It is the first link I found with a yahoo search, but the names are there:

    Seventy degrees is a lovely, comfortable temperature for most people. And the same turns out to be true for all sorts of tree species. In fact, scientists have found that trees actually have tricks they use to keep their leaves close to that perfect temperature.

    Brent Helliker thought maybe he could tease out something useful about today’s environment from the samples Richter collected. He discovered that the leaves on these trees did most of their work — that is, capturing solar energy — at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. And it didn’t matter whether the trees were growing in the hothouse of the tropics or in the frigid North.

    If these results are not disqualified it means that a forest has its own microclimate since trees keep leaves at a more or less optimum temperature. How can anybody disentangle general temperatures from forest temperaturs seems to me a mystery. I think the whole proxy from trees becomes moot because of this observation.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

      Re: anna v (#20), No, you are not.

    • team bender
      Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: anna v (#20),
      Annual ring width is a product of two factors, growth rate and growing season length. Think if it as the time integral at an hourly or daily resolution. Growing season – defined by the time in spring at which rooting zone soil crosses some threshold (say 40F) and time in autumn of bud dormancy & first frost – can be long or short. Photosynthesis/growth rate varies daily depending on weather. Your physiological buffering mechanism will operate in the middle and/or shoulders of the growing season depending on the climate in question. In supalpine climates, this time would be the peak of the growing season – June, July – when air temperatures often are not 70F (more like 50-60F), but physiological adaptations can make them 70F. Your buffering mechanism would have little impact in the long shoulder & tail seasons when temps are hovering around 30-50F.

      Climate warming, in contrast, has a large impact on spring soil temp and date of first frost. That is why treemometers work so well – your buffering mechanism, effective only during peak season growth, does little to break down the robust correlation between GMT and growing season length.

      Think May and August, MWP vs LIA, in the White Mtns. bcps making some headway in MWP, not at all in LIA. June, July somewhat equal because of your mechanism. Paleoclimatology is all about the shoulder seasons.

  19. anna v
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    p.s. to last

    Maybe that is why all tree proxy measurements look flat, and the up curve in the end is because they join instrumental measurements.

  20. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Jacoby was very big on the idea that trees could teleconnect to world climate bypassing local climate, an idea that achieved its most Rococo implementation in the Mann papers.

    Sounds more like Rocky Rococo.

    *waves at all the Firesign Theater fans* ;)

  21. Robinson
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    I saw that #20. I’m surprised it hasn’t been commented on more.

  22. Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    well so trees can regulate their temperatures, wow. I have read about suchlike stuff before – Brussels sprouts being particularly good at keeping warm and this is why they harvest in frosty conditions yet are not frost-spoiled themselves. If that’s the case they’ve got to be able to regulate the global CO2 supplies which seems like a tiny extra by comparison with generating their own central heating.

    • Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

      Re: Lucy Skywalker (#25),

      Hi to All… Of course they can, Lucy. They can produce cooling and warming proteins when they are under warm or cool stress. Tissues of a living being are inappropriate for using them like parameters for deducing temperatures, levels of carbon dioxide, pressure, etc. It’s a simple matter of biophysics.

  23. team jeez
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    anna v #20

    Whether or not a tree self-regulates its temperature is not relevant to dendroclimatology.

    What we observe when we analyze tree rings is the growth response of the tree to external climate factors. In specific the case of the teleconnected BCP’s, despite the constant hand waving of shrill contrarians, this correlation is well documented and cross checked with a thorough and robust statistical analysis.

    Teleconnection is an often misunderstood, but powerful concept which has long been a lynchpin of Climate Science since its early less mature days, and is accepted by real scientists in the field, including those who are heros of “skeptics”.

    • jae
      Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      Re: team jeez (#26),

      In specific the case of the teleconnected BCP’s, despite the constant hand waving of shrill contrarians, this correlation is well documented and cross checked with a thorough and robust statistical analysis.

      I’m sure some of the folks here would like a citation to this robust analysis?

    • John A
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:28 AM | Permalink

      Re: team jeez (#26),

      Whether or not a tree self-regulates its temperature is not relevant to dendroclimatology.

      So the response of a thermometer is irrelevant to the record that a thermometer produces?

      What we observe when we analyze tree rings is the growth response of the tree to external climate factors. In specific the case of the teleconnected BCP’s, despite the constant hand waving of shrill contrarians, this correlation is well documented and cross checked with a thorough and robust statistical analysis.

      But the tree does not respond to external climate factors, but does respond in some magical way to an arbitrary temperature index?

      Why does this look so much like the arm-waving of a shaman? It certainly isn’t science.

      Re: team jeez (#29),

      This issue has been discussed to death at RC. I’d appreciate you do some research there on your own as I have real work to attend to.

      Make sure you wave the fetishes in just the right way, otherwise the spell won’t work.

      Reference to RealClimate:

      “Connections at a distance, or teleconnections, can occur by the direct transfer of mass by changes in regular circulations or by propagating waves initiated by a variety of mechanisms.”

      It seems incredible that a blog ostensibly run by scientists should produce an argument based on primitive magic rather than 21st Century science.

  24. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    I’ve just browsed through the report by Dagneau and Duchaine. Fascinating stuff. It’s not just dendrochronology, it’s dendroarcheology. Their goal was to build a standard reference chronology for central Quebec. But the way they’re doing it is not just by finding very old trees. White cedar rarely lives for more than 200 years. So they start from living old trees, but they also go out and sample wooden beams used in very old buildings (many houses and churches on Ile d’Orleans date from the early 1700’s. Actually, my own ancestor lived there in the 1660’s). By correlating those with the living trees, they can extend the chronology even further back. That way, they could build a chronology all the way to 1536. That in turns allows them to date other wooden beam samples from buildings with unknown construction dates, and reconstruct their history.

    Note that the authors found a rather poor correlation with the Gaspe series, which is expected since the climate around Quebec city is quite different from Gaspe, which is about 400 km away. The Sag Pond chronology, in Maine, built by Pond, is also used but has the same problem, as well as an Abitiby series archived on ITDRB, that covers 1186-1987. On the other hand, their chronology correlates well with a Saguenay chronology that they have been using, built by Krause and Morin, but that doesn’t seem to have been published or archived.

    I also note that nowhere do the authors claim that the series represent temperature. Rather, they note that the white cedar responds to “climaatic conditions” in general. They do not attempt to elucidate the exact response. Their main goal is to be able to date pieces of wood. They infer (probably rightly) that white cedar will respond the same way to the same climate in a similar area.

    Of all the series that they use, only the Gaspe series has a hockey stick. The Sag Pond series, in Maine just a few km away, doesn’t.

  25. team jeez
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    This issue has been discussed to death at RC. I’d appreciate you do some research there on your own as I have real work to attend to.

  26. Bruce
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    teemjeez #26.

    You reference: “Connections at a distance, or teleconnections, can occur by the direct transfer of mass by changes in regular circulations or by propagating waves initiated by a variety of mechanisms.”

    How do trees transfer mass to other trees?

  27. TeamMoshPit
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    Bruce

    They transfer mass through their root system. It all happens below ground. Above ground waves are propagated when the branches sway in the wind ( a low frequency feild is set up) and when leaves quake ( a higher frequency field)

  28. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    #20 substantive comment to come.

  29. bender
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Team bender
    #32 doesn’t have a clue. And I am NOT “poisoning the well”.

  30. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    Jae asked about teemjeez’s statement:

    In specific the case of the teleconnected BCP’s, despite the constant hand waving of shrill contrarians, this correlation is well documented and cross checked with a thorough and robust statistical analysis.

    I’m sure some of the folks here would like a citation to this robust analysis?

    teamjeez, you replied:

    This issue has been discussed to death at RC. I’d appreciate you do some research there on your own as I have real work to attend to.

    If you would like to make a point, make it. If you would like to provide a citation, provide it.

    But just saying it has been “discussed to death at RC”, and then asking people to do your homework for you, simply doesn’t fly. If you would actually like to have your ideas discussed here, provide a citation.

    Because if you don’t, your ideas (excellent or otherwise) will simply fall into the trash bin. I haven’t a clue which study you are talking about, and I have absolutely no interest in digging through days of RC drivel to find it … only to have the odds be very high that you say “No, that wasn’t it, I was talking about another study”.

    So. If you are serious, and you do have a study …

    … either put up or shut up.

    Because asking other people to look up your pet study, and particulary asking us by means of handwaving and pointing at thousands of pages and saying “it’s in there somewhere”, simply does not work here, it will just get you roundly ignored.

    All the best,

    w.

    PS – or to put in your oh-so-charming terms … “I’d appreciate it if you look up your own !@#$%^& study on RC, as I have real work to attend to.”

  31. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    err willis, you might want to put some links in your chain. Jeez writes better when he is doing baby ice than when is teamjeez doing a parody. TeamMoshpit, of course, is superior in every genre.

  32. jae
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    LOL

  33. Ernie
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    #20 There has been a bit of press on that paper:

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/33137/title/Goldilocks_tree_leaves

    The original paper can be found here:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7203/full/nature07031.html

    – Ernie.

  34. Sylvain
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    BTW Steve what happens with the proxy sample you’ve collected some month ago. It has been a while since you’ve given any news about that.

  35. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    team bender, you lay out a good description of the formation of the tree rings.

    However, you have neglected an important part of the equation. This is the fact that the response of a tree to temperature is not linear in the slightest, it is an upside-down “U”. Too much temperature slows growth just like too little temperature slows growth.

    Next, all plants are subject to a complex interaction of moisture and temperature, where not enough of the first can reverse the effect of the second. (If there is not enough moisture, more temperature slows growth rather than increasing it as it would if there were sufficient moisture.)

    In addition, tree growth can be affected by the timing of climate events as much as by their amplitude. Even though two years may have identical amounts of temperature and the same number of frost days, if one of the frost days comes in the wrong week the tree may only grow a little that season, despite excellent conditions.

    Finally, there are a variety of other factors that affect tree growth, such as changes in wind patterns, depleting soil nutrients, stripping of bark, CO2 levels, soil moisture, timing of snow melt, changing levels of shade, amount of clouds, relative humidity of the air, and the like.

    You make the claim that “treemometers work so well” … perhaps you could stiffen the spine of that claim with some kind of citation? Because as far as I can see, they make very poor thermometers … which I suppose is why all over the world, people use thermometers rather than trees to tell the temperature.

    w.

    PS – I think anna v’s point in #20 was that whatever the mechanism by which trees keep their leaves at about 70°F, and whenever it might have more or less effect, it will decrease rather than increase the accuracy of the treemometer. To that I can only agree.

  36. steven mosher
    Posted Sep 21, 2008 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

    re41 parody of teamdendro.

  37. anna v
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 4:43 AM | Permalink

    team jeez: #26
    September 21st, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    anna v #20

    Whether or not a tree self-regulates its temperature is not relevant to dendroclimatology.

    What we observe when we analyze tree rings is the growth response of the tree to external climate factors.

    And the fact that the canopy creates a 70F temperature is not part of the external to the tree climate factors? Sounds to me like thermometers next to air conditioner vents.

    This is a new result, and the gurus have to come out and evaluate the effect of this on the tree rings now.

    I defies logic to ignore it.

  38. Joe Black
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Look at some of the annual growth ring differences here:

    http://www.woodanatomy.ch/species.php?code=PIMU#

    And then have someone explain the differences from year to year in terms of temperature.

  39. anna v
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 5:02 AM | Permalink

    team bender: #39
    September 21st, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Re: anna v (#20),
    Annual ring width is a product of two factors, growth rate and growing season length. Think if it as the time integral at an hourly or daily resolution. Growing season – defined by the time in spring at which rooting zone soil crosses some threshold (say 40F) and time in autumn of bud dormancy & first frost – can be long or short. Photosynthesis/growth rate varies daily depending on weather. Your physiological buffering mechanism will operate in the middle and/or shoulders of the growing season depending on the climate in question. In supalpine climates, this time would be the peak of the growing season – June, July – when air temperatures often are not 70F (more like 50-60F), but physiological adaptations can make them 70F. Your buffering mechanism would have little impact in the long shoulder & tail seasons when temps are hovering around 30-50F.

    I do not accept this explanation. Pines are everlasting, so they will have always a canopy at 70F. Not hotter, not colder. What you are saying is about deciduous trees, and pines are not. Also you are talking of a hygrometer, not a thermometer evidently, c=since the canopy temperature is around 70F, i.e. unchangeable, how much the external weather penetrates the forest depends on how thick it is, whether it has snowed ( helps keep temperatures constant) etc.

    Climate warming, in contrast, has a large impact on spring soil temp and date of first frost. That is why treemometers work so well – your buffering mechanism, effective only during peak season growth, does little to break down the robust correlation between GMT and growing season length.

    Only for isolated trees. Trees in a forest will also mitigate the ground temperatures. Have you never walked in the woods summer or winter?

    Think May and August, MWP vs LIA, in the White Mtns. bcps making some headway in MWP, not at all in LIA. June, July somewhat equal because of your mechanism. Paleoclimatology is all about the shoulder seasons.

    I think paleodendroclimatology needs a good rethink.

    • jae
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

      Re: anna v (#48),

      I think paleodendroclimatology needs a good rethink.

      Me, too. In temperate zones the bulk of the growth occurs early in the growing season (earlywood). Probably an evolution thing–taking advantage of adequate moisture and moderate temperatures this time of year, normally by mid-June. For most softwood species, only a small amount of latewood is formed during the rest of the growing season. For alpine trees, the timing is later, but same idea. Except in “years without a summer” there is probably always adequate time and temperature for normal growth. I have yet to be convinced that temperature has a significant effect on tree growth in temperate zones.

  40. Chris D.
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    Steve’s images of BCPs in situ were certainly not well canopied woods.

  41. EW
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 5:55 AM | Permalink

    #18 bender
    I looked up the distribution of Thuja occidentalis and to me it seems that it doesn’t go much south from the Great Lakes. Is that the wet preference or does it really like also the colder weather there?

    • Reference
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

      Re: EW (#50), Based on the species distribution of Thuja occidentalis posted by EW, the location of the Forillon National Park in the Gaspé Peninusla, Québec, and the distribution of USDA Hardiness Zones 3 & 4, is the production of lammas shoots a possible explanation for the observed growth?

      Professor Fridborg’s anecdotal report in 1998 mentions lammas growth as a novel feature of Swedish woodlands, (lammas growth is something very familiar to British forestry where maritime climate conditions predominate), then is it possible that, in the Canadian coastal location of Gaspé, an amelioration of hardiness zone 3 & 4 conditions has permitted late season lammas growth in the Gaspé cedars?

      • team bender
        Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

        Re: Reference (#78), Without knowing exactly where these cedars are located and what the stand conditions were like, many things are possible. This was a time when many trees in the Gaspe and across Quebec were being killed or released by an intense spruce budworm outbreak, which adversely affected spruce and fir, but not larch, cedar, and other non-host conifers.

        • Reference
          Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          Re: team bender (#79), If I wanted to find old growth timber to core, I’d choose to look in a National Park. :wink:

        • team bender
          Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

          Re: Reference (#80)
          Forillon is seaside. You need something far more upland.

  42. DaveM
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    I am not sure if disease is also being overlooked. In my field, we have been encountering a marked increase of Cedar Leaf Blight as a result of warmer winter temps. and increased humidity. http://imfc.cfl.scf.rncan.gc.ca/maladie-disease-eng.asp?geID=1000002 In my neck of the “woods” we are dealing primarily with Western Reds, but I see the white is affected as well. This fungus can slow growth substantially in large populations. It is just one of many conifer “diseases” that result from environmental changes. (Natural and otherwise)

    I hope this is helpful.

  43. Mark T.
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    There isn’t much of a “canopy” in a BCP forest that I know of… most that I’ve seen tend to be somewhat sparsely populated (one of the really old BCPs, seen on the cog railway up to Pike’s Peak, is literally in the middle of a field by itself). They also tend to be gnarly, nasty looking things with sparsely populated branches. I cannot fathom how these things live as long as they do looking as sickly as they do. :)

    Mark

    • TeamUrbinto
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T. (#55),

      We need references, not your juvenile hand-waving. Please join the script rather than driving off into some Buster Keaton or WC Fields short.

      Best,

      TU

  44. bender
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    anna v:
    You may have scanned what I wrote in #39 but you clearly did not read and understand it. The buffering mechanism that has you so excited is irrelvant below a certain temperature range, which occurs in the shoulder seasons. The idea of a bcp “canopy” maintaining a temperature of 70F when air temperatures are 50F is absurd. Your distinciton between confiers and hardwoods is irrelevant. Please re-read my earlier comment and point out where you think clarification is required.

    Willis:
    You don’t need to remind me about the nonlinear response of tree rings to environmental factors as I have been the most vocal proponent here of a nonlinear, multifactor, non-additive model. Links available upon request. The nonlienarity issue is completely independent of the buffering mechanism that interests anna v. One red herring at a time, ok?

    • Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#56),

      The buffering mechanism that has you so excited is irrelvant below a certain temperature range, which occurs in the shoulder seasons. The idea of a bcp “canopy” maintaining a temperature of 70F when air temperatures are 50F is absurd. Your distinciton between confiers and hardwoods is irrelevant. Please re-read my earlier comment and point out where you think clarification is required.

      Sorry, it’s not irrelevant and it’s not absurd. AFPs allows a plant to survive to sub-zero temperatures. The same is for temperatures above 30 °C; the plant reponds producing ISPs.

      • bender
        Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

        Re: Nasif Nahle (#57),
        These AFPs that enhance survival at low temperatureshave zero impact on growth, which is the issue. Why the urge to conflate issues all the time? The ISPs have no role to play in the shoulder seasons. My point stands.

      • bender
        Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

        Re: Nasif Nahle (#57),

        The same is for temperatures above 30 °C; the plant reponds producing ISPs.

        In fact, this mechanism serves to linearize the very nonlinearities that Willis is upset about in #40, thus INCREASING the applicability of the linear proxy models used by Mann et al.

  45. TeamUrbinto
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    Ah, engineers, geologists, statisticians, mining promoters and ex-executives, and various clueless bloggers babbling on about fluid dynamics.

    You deniers grasping at your strawmen would be comical if you weren’t so pitiful.

    Those of us who actually understand the science of climate would know that teambender has it correct. There are multiple interlocking proofs that the climate has an overwhelming impact on soil temperates and the timing of the first frost. The naive idea of a peak growing season only buffering mechanism can do nothing to impact the extra-super-extreme robust correlation between the global mean temperature and growing season length.

    We don’t have time to take you all back to grade school and teach you the basics. Just realize you’re out of your league, and praise our greatness.

    RC has all your answers; perhaps a clue awaits for you there.

    Don’t delay us further; we have our work to do. Just think about the average, what use have they for you?

    • bender
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: TeamUrbinto (#59),

      There are multiple interlocking proofs that the climate has an overwhelming impact on soil temperates and the timing of the first frost. The naive idea of a peak growing season only buffering mechanism can do nothing to impact the extra-super-extreme robust correlation between the global mean temperature and growing season length.

      You ridicule my position through hyperbole and this is indeed incredibly humorous. However … I can prove my case, whereas you have no case to prove. Are you interested in learning, or is your mind made up?

      I suppose “growing season length” does not exist, the way “global mean temperature” does not exist?

      • TeamUrbinto
        Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#61),

        I do not ridicule your position. Your position ridicules itself. The very notion of a peak-growing-season-only buffering mechanism is not a “case to prove” it is a truism that needs no “learning” any more than gravity or sunlight. Is my mind made up that water at sea level on Earth freezes at 0 C and boils at 100 C? Sir, you do climate science a disservice by clinging to your outmoded and incorrect skewed world view.

        Nothing exists unless we say it does. So your last comment is correct, although you certainly didn’t phrase it where anyone not a climate science superstar could understand it.

  46. Kevin B
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Can we add nutrient re-cycling to the influences of weather on tree ring growth?

    At a guess, it seems to me that the biological processes that rot old leaves, branches, bird guano, dead bugs and animals etc. and re-cycle them back into the soil will work better when the temperature is higher, though since it may take a full season to cycle the nutrients back into the tree’s roots, this may influence next year’s growth rather than this year’s.

    Of course, most of these processes will produce more CO2, which will warm up the atmosphere and, with suitable feedbacks, produce a runaway greenhouse effect which will then dessicate the area preventing the trees from growing and killing all the bugs so reducing CO2 which, with suitable feedbacks, will cool the atmosphere producing an ice age.

    (Darn! I thought I had it sussed there, but I forgot to take into account the effect of pollen acting as cloud concentration nuclei.)

  47. bender
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Willis’s statistical tree growth model

    A canonical version cited by Steve M in debate with M Juckes

  48. Chris V
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Thank you, #59, for your reference to teamRush.

  49. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    bender, you say:

    In fact, this mechanism serves to linearize the very nonlinearities that Willis is upset about in #40, thus INCREASING the applicability of the linear proxy models used by Mann et al.

    Absolutely not. The non-linearities have been measured in actual plants, so the upside-down “U” shape of the response of all plants to temperature already includes the mechanism discussed, along with all other mechanisms known and unknown.

    Also, I’m intrigued by your idea that if we take a “U” shaped response and widen out the shoulders and thus flatten the top via some mechanism as you postulate, that the linear method becomes “more applicable”. The problem is, the response is still an upside-down “U”, so the linear proxy model is no more applicable than it was before. All we’ve done is that the “U” is just a little flatter at the top … which doesn’t help at all. In fact it hurts, because the standard proxy model assumption is that we are always on the upslope. But if the shoulders are wider and the top flatter, there is less upslope, so our results will be worse, not better.

    w.

    PS – I’m non upset about non-linearity, that’s the natural world, what’s not to like? I’m upset by misguided individuals who want to ignore the non-linearities.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

      Re: Willis Eschenbach (#67),
      Willis, that is not what I propose. I have outlined all this before. Briefly. On hot days and in the middle of the warmest part of the growing season, when soil is driest, increasing temperature causes a reduction in growth. This is your nonlinearity. My point is that if a plant evolves a mechanism to cope with such moisture stress, then strong nonlinearities might not be realised. Instead of a drop, all you might get is a flattening.

      All this is in reference to the hottest, driest part of the growing season. Clearly, climate warming here will not favor increased growth. In the shoulder seasons, when temperatures are lower, the response to temperatue is not nearly as nonlinear. It may be quite close to linear. Here, if temeprature is indeed limiting, climate warming will increase growth, all other things being equal.

      There is no flattening of the inverse-U response in this scenario. In different seasons the plant is operating on different parts of the U. In alpine treeline climates, the positive effect of climate warming in the shoulder seasons (spring, autumn) has a greater impact than the negative effect it might during peak drought conditions.

      Please do not criticize a model that you do not understand. Ask for clarifications first.

      • Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#69),

        Dear Bender, Please explain these “things”:

        Martin E. Feder, Gretchen E. Hofmann. HEAT-SHOCK PROTEINS, MOLECULAR CHAPERONES, AND THE STRESS RESPONSE: Evolutionary and Ecological Physiology. Annual Review of Physiology, March 1999, Vol. 61, Pages 243-282

        And,

        http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/dickinso/research/2000/range00b.htm

        • bender
          Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nasif Nahle (#82),
          Sure, what would you like to know?

        • Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#83),

          Bender… I’m a biologist. I just want to know what’s your opinion on those articles. BTW, I’d like to know what’s your position on linearity or non-linearity of tree-rings growth; of course, if this doesn’t bother you.

        • bender
          Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

          Re: Nasif Nahle (#84),
          1. Kind of an open ended question, don’t you think? Can you be more specific? The first is a paper, the second is a very simple and general summary report. There’s not much to them. If you think that heat shock proteins are a major impediment to dendroclimatology I would say think again – for all the reasons I’ve listed earlier. Anything that linearizes an otherwise parabolic growth response will IMPROVE the utility of a linear reconstruction method.

          2. My position on nonlinearity? That too is open-ended. Nonlinearity will be a problem in any system where the plant is subject to extremes with which it is poorly adapted. That could happen to any species depending on the site and the prevailing climate. A bigger issue is nonstationarity (failure of the uniformitarian principle) over very long periods of time. A site that is too hot & dry during a MWP megadrought might be too cold & wet during a LIA. Different variables become limiting in the two circumstances. But this is all theoeretical. Not enough experiments are done to prove and to quantify these nonlinearities and alleged nonstationarities.

          But why do you ask? As a biologist you surely know all this.

        • Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#85),

          But why do you ask? As a biologist you surely know all this.

          That’s precisely why I asked to you. Plants count on a feedback system that responds before changes of the environmental conditions so their functions do not decrease to dangerous levels, unless the changes of the atmosphere are excessively severe, for example abrupt frozen could prevent the plants of producing enough AFPs and the plant could die. Enzymes and hormones stop functioning from a given low level of temperature, or they become denaturalized when the temperature is excessively high. The sensitivity of the proteins depends on their structure. I don’t mean that the phytometabolism goes flattened always, but that their growth can be modified if the internal temperature of the plant undergoes only small variations thanks to the ISPs. Consequently, the plant would show a slower growth than expected, even if they are exposed to high temperatures. On the opposite case, the plant would continue growing though the environmental conditions were colder, due to a sufficient production of AFPs, thus the growth would be higher than the expected one under freeze conditions. If you are talking about probable influences of weak physical energies on biosystems, their correlation to kT is stressed. The heat breaking through the plant is not which is valuable, but the load of heat which is taken into the plant tissues. Thus the ambient could be warm, more than usual, though the heat absorbed by the plant would not be increased. Besides, dear friend, there is a kind of collaboration among molecular processes which promotes low energetic influences. We can say the same on strong physical energies.

          That’s my humble opinion like a biologist on the very changeable linearity of tree-rings growth.

          Regarding your “assessment” on the articles that I posted… well that’s your open-ended opinion, not mine.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: Willis Eschenbach (#67), Take a look over at Lubos site for a write-up of my new paper on tree rings and divergence.

  50. Mark T.
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    This team thing is beginning to scare me.

    ^bender: if you’re the leading proponent “of a nonlinear, multifactor, non-additive model” w.r.t. tree rings, count me as a close second.

    Mark

  51. Peter
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    A little forestry comment:

    #50: trees do not ‘like’ anything. They just have characteristics that allow them to outcompete other species, or not.

    For example, Eastern White Cedar has an extremely wide range of moisture and temperature related characteristics, but it’s not very good at outcompeting other species in any but two situations – either very wet or very dry (you can see the dwarf BCP-like ancient cedar stands on the cliff below the Quebec Citadelle – and as a bonus you can see the Ile d’Orleans in the background). Eastern White Cedar will grow very well in rich soils in average moisture, but it just happens that there is lot of competition there, so you usually don’t find them there – unless you look at a EWC in a cemetery or in a park where they do very well because all competing species are absent. From this point of view, the growth limiting factors will be very different depending on where each tree grows. A wet and cold summer like the one we had this year ( if you can call it summer) will probably be very beneficial for growth of a EWC on a dry station, and will do absolutely nothing for a swamp EWC. And a very dry hot summer will halt the growth of a dry station EWC, and will probably boost the growth of a EWC on a swamp station. To suggest that EWC = thermometer can come only from somebody who has never come even close to one and who has no clue about how trees grow.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

      Re: Peter (#70),

      To suggest that EWC = thermometer can come only from somebody who has never come even close to one and who has no clue about how trees grow.

      That’s stating it a little strongly, but I don’t exactly disagree either. The Ste-Anne cedars (although we don’t know their exact location due to a lack of diligence in metadata!) are growing in a fairly cool, almost subalpine climate. It’s possible their growth rates could be somewhat temperature limited. That is obviously not the strongest endorsement for EWC as treemometer. Maybe high priest team_urbinto would like to assert that?

      • Peter
        Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#72),

        My point is that growth of EWC like the one in Gaspe is very complex ( and so is probably BCP and all other trees). Another example: EWC grows in similar sites as black spruce and tamarack. Excess ground water is often the limiting factor. Get rid of the excess ground water and you can boost the growth by 2-5(!) times in tamarack and black spruce. Can’t find anything on EWC right now but from my experience it reacts exactly the same. A very small change in ground drainage can produce the hockey stick blade in the gaspe tree.

        • team bender
          Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

          Re: Peter (#76),
          Sure. That’s precisely why they’ve ditched Finland.

    • team bender
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Peter (#70),

      From this point of view, the growth limiting factors will be very different depending on where each tree grows. A wet and cold summer like the one we had this year ( if you can call it summer) will probably be very beneficial for growth of a EWC on a dry station, and will do absolutely nothing for a swamp EWC. And a very dry hot summer will halt the growth of a dry station EWC, and will probably boost the growth of a EWC on a swamp station.

      The freedom to choose a sample to produce a particular response is an advantage unique to dendroclimatology.
      :)

  52. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    #70 Here is a picture of the Ste-Anne river. I don’t see any white cedar though. But the white cedar would most probably not grow too high up in the mountains. Most likely they would grow near the river, in a somewhat flat and dampish spot. Vegetation will be subalpine, or even alpine, only high up in the mountains, especially the ChicChocs nearby, where there are elks (caribous). I have hiked in that region and in Charlevoix (on the other side of the St-Lawrence) often enough.

    I will repeat here that in the Dagneau report, it is never stated that EWC is strictly temperature limited. Their only hypothesis is that trees of the same species that grow in a similar environment will have well-correlated ring patterns.

    There may be more information on EWC in this publication, cited by Dagneau, which is the Abitibi series archived at ITDRB:

    Archambault, S. et Bergeron Y., 1992, « A 802-year chronology from the Quebec boreal forest »,Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 22 : 674-682.

  53. Raven
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    A poster named apolytongp at Tamino’s claims that the new Gaspe series is not useful for climatology studies because it was not collected from trees at the tree line. The argument sounded reasonable – can anyone comment on it?

    If you look at the source, it’s pretty evident that this new series was not at treeline. Was selected for archeology of buildings, for representative lumber, not for temp limited specimens.

    http://www.grdh-dendro.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Rapport_GRDH_D6__ecran_.pdf

    Page 54 is especially good as it compares several cedar series. Evident that they are all different.

    • Willis Eschenbach
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

      Re: Raven (#86), thanks for the post. The link didn’t work. You say:

      A poster named apolytongp at Tamino’s claims that the new Gaspe series is not useful for climatology studies because it was not collected from trees at the tree line. The argument sounded reasonable – can anyone comment on it?

      The problem with this claim is that there is not a lot of evidence to show that the treeline is more temperature limited than lower elevations. I grew up near the treeline (northern Sierra Nevada range), so I’ve watched a lot of growing seasons there. I can’t speak much to other treelines, but I know that one pretty well.

      My observation is that during some summers, many of the tree limbs would turn brown, and in some cases the limbs would actually die and fall off, from temperature/water stress. It was not temperature stress, because it was warmer down lower, and trees there did fine. I call it “temperature/water” stress because it is caused, not by temperatures that were too high, but by temperatures that were too high given the available water.

      Because of this, I see no way to say a priori that a given site will be “temperature limited”, or that a treeline site is necessarily preferable to a lower site.

      Nor is the problem necessarily lack of rain. In the northern Sierra Nevada, the problem is that in the summer the air up near the treeline is often bone dry. This desiccates the trees, leading to temperature/water stress.

      So in answer to your question, I would say that the commenter’s claim (that a given site was not usable because it was not on the treeline) is not generally applicable. It may be true for some trees in some locations, and it seems to an article of faith in the paleodendroclimatology community, but it is far from being a general truth.

      w.

      • bender
        Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

        Re: Willis Eschenbach (#90),
        Gaspe is not dry. It is a very maritime climate, surrounded by warm shallow gulf waters.

  54. bender
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    1. Were Jacoby’s original cedars collected from “treeline”? No one knows because he never archived his data.
    2. Ile d’Orleans is sea-level, not alpine, no doubt of that. But I doubt very much that there even exist “treeline” cedars in Quebec. Treeline stunted spruce, yes.
    3. The commenter says “they are all different”. If that’s the case then what accounts for the correlation Steve cites above? Whatever limited the Gaspe cedars appears to be limiting the Ile d’Orleans cedars. Empirical fact.

  55. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    bender, you say:

    Willis, that is not what I propose. I have outlined all this before. Briefly. On hot days and in the middle of the warmest part of the growing season, when soil is driest, increasing temperature causes a reduction in growth. This is your nonlinearity. My point is that if a plant evolves a mechanism to cope with such moisture stress, then strong nonlinearities might not be realised. Instead of a drop, all you might get is a flattening.

    All this is in reference to the hottest, driest part of the growing season. Clearly, climate warming here will not favor increased growth. In the shoulder seasons, when temperatures are lower, the response to temperatue is not nearly as nonlinear. It may be quite close to linear. Here, if temeprature is indeed limiting, climate warming will increase growth, all other things being equal.

    There is no flattening of the inverse-U response in this scenario. In different seasons the plant is operating on different parts of the U. In alpine treeline climates, the positive effect of climate warming in the shoulder seasons (spring, autumn) has a greater impact than the negative effect it might during peak drought conditions.

    Please do not criticize a model that you do not understand. Ask for clarifications first.

    Gosh, bender, that’s a brilliant plan, don’t criticize what I don’t understand, why didn’t I think of that?

    … for future reference, if I don’t understand something, there’s no need for insults. Just let me know what I have misunderstood …

    But that aside … if a plant evolves a way to cope with moisture stress, it will flatten out the top of the inverted “U” as you say. If the top is flattened, then instead of an upside-down “U”, we get an upside-down “U” with a flat top.

    So is it your theory that an upside-down “U” with a flat top is somehow more linear than a “U” with a rounded top? Is it your theory that when the shoulders of the curve get widened, that that increases the amount of the curve that is linear?

    Because you are certainly right … I don’t have a clue at this point as to what your theory is. For example, you say that the “positive effect of climate warming in the shoulder seasons (spring, autumn) has a greater impact than the negative effect it might during peak drought conditions” … well, perhaps it will, and perhaps it will not, but it is certainly not guaranteed to do so as you seem to think. I have seen dry years where the trees on our local alpine ridgelines hardly grew at all, despite the temperatures being in the right range.

    Next, you say

    In the shoulder seasons, when temperatures are lower, the response to temperature is not nearly as nonlinear. It may be quite close to linear. Here, if temperature is indeed limiting, climate warming will increase growth, all other things being equal.

    Unfortunately, that is a tautology — you are saying that if temperature is a linear limiting factor for growth, then growth will be limited by temperature in a linear fashion. However, that doesn’t help us, because you are assuming what you set out to prove.

    The problem as I see it is this — we have no way to know if a narrow tree ring is caused by too much heat, or too little heat. If your model doesn’t explain how to tell the difference, I would say that the problem is not my lack of understanding of your model, it is your model’s lack of understanding of the problem.

    So, I am hereby asking for a clarification.

    w.

    PS – you also seem to think that the problem only occurs “On hot days and in the middle of the warmest part of the growing season, when soil is driest …”

    If you truly believe that, I would venture a guess that you didn’t grow up on a farm. That’s like saying “for a human being, running out of water only matters on a hot day”. If water is short, plant growth slows, even when it is not all that warm. Water stress can happen even on relatively cool days.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

      Re: Willis Eschenbach (#88), There is no reason to be difficult, Willis. Your tone has degraded to a point where I don’t really feel like responding. There is no reason to insult my experience when it comes to understanding plant growth. You are twisting my words, guessing at what I “seem to think”. But I told you what I thought. I broke down the seasonal response into a sum of daily responses, explaining exactly how the theoretical U-shape translates in terms of a longer-term integrated response. This is a topic I’ve addressed before in a previous thread. If you think I don’t understand moisture stress please consult the survivorhsip thread. I never said there were no carry-over effects across days. I’ve seen plants wilt before. You don’t need to be a farmkid to see that. And I know full well about cold dry environments. Why do you think I was the first at CA to propose the nonlinear non-additive moisture stress model for treeline trees?

      You ask why I don’t simply correct your misunderstanding. That’s because it is hard to know what someone misunderstands without probing pretty deeply into your assumptions. Your tone is so dismissive I must ask myself if it’s worth the bother. You object to my clarifications to anna v – on what basis? Do you really think a “stand” of bcps can bring the ambient temperature from 50F to a wonderfully constant 70F? That this happens often in spring and autumn? Because that’s about what it would take for that mechanism to break down a relationship between growth and growing season length based on ambient air temperature.

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#89),
      So much for those heat shock proteins keeping the moisture stressed tree from shutting down in midsummer. A physiological coping mechanism – such as the one anna v opened with – does not necessarily work across the full range of temperature and does not necessarily rule out long-term correlations between growth and environmental variables.

      This ain’t rocket science.

  56. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

    Fritts 1969 studied bristlecone growth on a day by day basis and determined that annual growth stopped when soil moisture fell below a certain level.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#89),
      Right. On a daily basis the plant experiences the full range of environmental conditions, exploring both sides of the U. My point is that over a few hundred growing seasons the response appears much more muted because those extreme conditions typically do not last (and if they do the tree dies). A timberline tree may experience the full range of limiting conditions in a single growing season, but over the course of its life spend most of its time on the linear part of the temperature-limited upslope on the U. That is why I chose to clarify daily vs. seasonal responses. No other purpose. Willis likes to make a lot out of that inverse U. But it is not necessarily all that damning to paleoclimatology. Linear approximations can work ok if the response is not too nonlinear.

  57. bender
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    If Willis thinks I argue in tautologies he should re-examine the argument, I do not do that, ever.

  58. James Lane
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    BTW, for the CA veterans, the poster “apolytongp” at Tamino’s site is our old friend TCO.

  59. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

    Although the altitude of Cook’s site is not reported, if one looks at the reported location 48 35N 65 55W on Google Earth ( a tool that either did not exist when we visited this issue in 2004 or which we were unaware of), this is in a river valley. Though there are some higher elevation locations in the area, this location appears to be well to the south of the higher ground and there is no evidence that it is a treeline site. It looks like the cedars come from about 600-800 feet in elevation.

    Nor would there be any reason for Cook in 1984 to even be thinking about treeline sites. There is no evidence that using trees as temperature proxies was even on his radar screen in 1984. The idea of using ring widths as temperature proxies appears to develop a bit later e.g. with Jacoby in the 1980s, but Cook was later to the game (and has consistently stayed involved with drought proxies.)

  60. jae
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    Freudjae: Some of you seem to have split personalities. I think you should consider that plants also have split personalities. Tomatoes (and most annual plants) grow all season long, and might be good planthermometers, if they would just live a few hundred years. But they don’t. Most temperate conifers grow mostly in the spring and early summer and almost QUIT by August (except for Southern Pines, which have adequate moisture to keep putting on latewood right into winter). Apples and oranges again, folks.

  61. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 22, 2008 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    I think that the discussion is getting too theoretical and runs the risk of downplaying observation and measurement. Although my experience with forests and shrubs is not specialist, it is better than average and includes hands-on. I reached the conclusion long ago that dendrothermometry is a method to discard, not with caveats, but completely.

    Uniformitarianism alone is a killer (was that single BCP mentioned above alone for 1000 years?) The well-documented and inarguable 30 or more factors that significantly influence tree growth make it unscientific to select temperature as the dominant factor that carries useful past information. Reconstructions are unlikely to improve with further research and particularly with further speculation.

  62. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

    bender, thanks for your post. My apologies if my tone was harsh.

    I asked for clarification in my last post, precisely because I don’t know what you think, so I have to guess. You have claimed a couple of times that you have explained this all before, and you likely have … but since you haven’t given a citation as to just where that was, it’s not possible for me to read your previous explanation. So I am left with my own poor understanding. Your abusing me for lack of understanding doesn’t move us much forwards. Again, however, my apologies if my tone upset you.

    Next, Yogi Berra said, “It’s not over until it’s over” … and as George Bush commented during the last election, “It’s no exaggeration to say the undecideds could go one way or another.” Accordingly, your posts would be much more convincing if they did not contain statements like “Linear approximations can work ok if the response is not too nonlinear.” Perhaps, as you say, you don’t ever deal in tautologies … but that’s not the way to prove it. Or as Yogi Berra might have said “It’s not nonlinear until it’s nonlinear” …

    You continue to make statements like “over a few hundred growing seasons the response appears much more muted because those extreme conditions typically do not last (and if they do the tree dies).” Since you have just said that on a daily basis “the plant experiences the full range of environmental conditions, exploring both sides of the U”, I’m not sure what you are calling “those extreme conditions”. Not to mention the fact that there are millions of trees out there which “endure extreme conditions” and don’t die … so what are you saying? I won’t guess, I’ll just say I don’t understand this either. You say that “extreme conditions typically do not last”, but every tree at the treeline has endured “extreme conditions” for its entire lifetime. That’s why the treeline is there, because the conditions are so extreme … so which extreme conditions are you referring to, the ones that don’t last? And why didn’t the treeline trees exposed to those “extreme conditions” die? Can you see why people may not be able to understand what you are driving at?

    It is these kind of absolutist statements, which you make without even an attempt to justify, cite, or explain them, that I find troubling. You claim that heat stress only occurs “on hot days and in the middle of the growing season.” When I point out that this is simply not true, it can happen even when it is cool, you don’t attempt to defend your statement. Instead, you protest that you really truly do understand plants and moisture stress, and abuse me for being so foolish as to think otherwise.

    And perhaps you do truly understand … but making broad, unsupported statements that plants only experience heat stress on hot days and in the middle of the growing season is not the best way to demonstrate it.

    And while it is true that a tree “may … over the course of its life spend most of its time on the linear part of the temperature-limited upslope on the U.”, it is equally true to say that it may not spend most of its time in a linearly temperature limited condition. Your claim that it may spend “most of its time” in the linear zone is certainly not supported by the very poor correlation between ring width and temperature.

    Nor is your claim supported by logic. Logically, plants would grow the best at some mid-point in the range of probable temperature/moisture, that way they would be at the optimum temperature for the maximum amount of time. If the temperature/moisture was at the high end of the range, they wouldn’t get there very often, and growth would suffer. And if it were at the bottom end of the range, they would suffer from excessive heat stress.

    But if the optimum temperature is somewhere around the mid-range, that means that they likely spend quite a bit of time on the downslope. The frequent occurrence of heat stress at the treeline is ample evidence of this occurring even at the cool end of their range.

    You also say:

    You object to my clarifications to anna v – on what basis? Do you really think a “stand” of bcps can bring the ambient temperature from 50F to a wonderfully constant 70F? That this happens often in spring and autumn?

    You know, bender, I don’t have a clue what the overall effect on tree rings of the physiological situation anna v. pointed out might be, it’s a brand new piece of scientific information … and you know what?

    You don’t have a clue what the effect of it might be either, for the same reason. But dismissing it out of hand (and insulting people into the bargain) is likely not the best response.

    And for the record, are you also “team bender”? Because in #56, you say I don’t need to lecture you about nonlinearities in tree rings … but at that point in the thread I hadn’t said anything to you at all, just to “team bender” … is that you?

    Next, I asked a simple question. Does your un-cited, un-referenced mystery “model” allow us to distinguish between a narrow tree ring due to heat, and a narrow ring due to cold?

    Finally, you ask “Why do you think I was the first at CA to propose the nonlinear non-additive moisture stress model for treeline trees?”. You know, I don’t have a clue … but if you were to cite where you proposed it, I’d at least have a chance of understanding both the model and why you proposed it.

    Let me clarify my position. I do think that in certain cases, tree rings may provide some information about past climate. In many instances, they may be able to distinguish between a warmer year and a cooler year. I do not think, however, that tree rings can distinguish between a year which is too hot, and a year which is too cold. Both end up with narrower rings which can’t be told apart.

    If this were a random error, it would not be a problem. But the result is not random — it interprets hot years as cold years, and never the other way. In fact, anything that reduces a tree’s growth, whether it is decreasing soil nutrients, increased shade, changes in wind patterns, excessive clouds, or any other cause, is interpreted as being a cold year.

    The net result of this is to distort the historical record in the direction of cold, by an unknown amount. While this does not make the tree ring reconstructions useless, it asymmetrically widens out the error bars by an unknown but very possibly significant amount. And since the correlation with modern temperatures is not all that good to start with, that means really wide error bars as we go back in time.

    w.

  63. anna v
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Bender #91

    So much for those heat shock proteins keeping the moisture stressed tree from shutting down in midsummer. A physiological coping mechanism – such as the one anna v opened with – does not necessarily work across the full range of temperature and does not necessarily rule out long-term correlations between growth and environmental variables.

    This ain’t rocket science.

    OK, correlations between growth and environmental variables, fair enough.

    In my humble opinion even a two degree reduction in cold or increase in heat changes the environment on a daily basis too, in a forest, with such a mechanism of “constant” temperature at 2 to 6 meters height.

    You have a theory, fine, but from there to temperatures it needs much more proof than I have seen you provide.

    I am questioning the accuracy of the “thermometer”, is all.

    Actually I would take the flat lines that most tree proxy temperature charts show as evidence for the thermostatic effect of the leaves rather than not.

  64. Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    I forgot to say that some hormones and enzymes can function like ISPs or AFPs. Thanks for your comprehension.

  65. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:50 AM | Permalink

    Curiously, I chanced to tune to the Nature Channel just a few minutes ago, when they were showing a closeup time-lapse movie of just tree leaves. What I saw was the leaves adjusting to either face up, or to face sideways.

    I realized that I was looking at a part of the mechanism whereby the leaves maintain a constant temperature. They simply adjust their angle to either absorb more heat from the sun, or to let it through the canopy. Of course, the other main part of this temperature control mechanism must be the cooling of the leaves through transpiration. (In addition, of course, we would suspect that there are chemical processes going on as well.)

    Obviously, the effect of all of this this will be to widen the range of temperatures at which the tree can maintain maximum growth. In other words, it means that over a wider range, the growth rate will be decoupled from the environmental temperature.

    And the tree does not need, as bender suggested above, to change the environmental temperature to achieve this. bender said:

    You object to my clarifications to anna v – on what basis? Do you really think a “stand” of bcps can bring the ambient temperature from 50F to a wonderfully constant 70F? That this happens often in spring and autumn? Because that’s about what it would take for that mechanism to break down a relationship between growth and growing season length based on ambient air temperature.

    The leaves are the factories of the tree, where the conversion of sunlight to energy goes on. So to keep the factories humming, to keep the growth rate decoupled from the temperature, all that is necessary is to change the leaves’ temperature, not the ambient air temperature.

    w.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

      Re: Willis Eschenbach (#103),
      Again, as before, this mechanism – which is not that strong a “decoupling” – operates within a certain range of temperature, not the full range of temperature. When it is 40F air temp, do you really think a bcp needle is 70F? Shoulder seasons. Growing season length. Stop blowing everything all out of proportion.

      Re: anna v (#106),
      The opening and closing of leaves comes at a small metabolic cost and this is a metabolic investment that is not available for growth. So it is not as though these adaptations come tax-free. The “decoupling” effect is not as strong as you attempt to suggest. It does not refute the principle of dendroclimatology that prevailing environmental limitations show up in the tree ring record.

      The eagerness here to dismiss dendroclimatology is absurd. That it is an approximate science does not mean it is a fallacious science. Please try to maintain some sense of proportion.

      • MrPete
        Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#108),

        When it is 40F air temp, do you really think a bcp needle is 70F? Shoulder seasons. Growing season length. Stop blowing everything all out of proportion.

        I’m cautious across the board on this. While it may seem impossible for a needle to be 70F in 40F air, consider this:

        My home is designed for solar efficiency (south facing glass, correctly designed overhangs, tile floors, etc.) On a freezing day in winter, we obtain a very nice solar gain; if it is sunny, our heat rarely turns on. Likewise, we used to have a solar water heating system; the heat transfer liquid was quite capable of extracting heat from cool if not freezing air.

        So, it would not at all surprise me to find that a bcp needle could be 70F in 40F air, if there is some mechanism that allows the tree to modulate its solar “footprint”, albedo, and/or “heat transfer liquid.” Certainly, the trees survive incredible chills without freezing. All that to say — nonlinear response may be more extreme than we allow for.

        Nature has a way of surprising us.

  66. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:52 AM | Permalink

    The U-shaped response. Some species of genus Rhododendron droop their leaves to vear vertical to avoid snow accumulation. Other times, they do the same to reduce excess sun exposure. Nuf said?

  67. anna v
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

    Willis Eschenbach: #103
    September 23rd, 2008 at 1:50 am

    “So to keep the factories humming, to keep the growth rate decoupled from the temperature, all that is necessary is to change the leaves’ temperature, not the ambient air temperature.”

    Wish I had thought of that first :)

  68. anna v
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    Geoff Sherrington: #104

    There is a tree called “Istanbul Manolia” that closes all leaves at night and opens them fully in the sunlight. Also closes them if there is a lot of wind. It is very good to have next to a house in Mediterranean climates because it is deciduous and does not obstruct the winter sun and in the summer it allows the night breezes through. It makes a prodigious output of fluffy flowers though, that litter lawns and pavements.

  69. anna v
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, not Manolia, Mimoza.

  70. anna v
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    Please, Bender. nobody wants to dismiss dendroclimatology as such.

    One of the first “science” memories I have is of counting rings on a cross section of a tree, and seeing the 11 year differences in thickness of the ring, and being told of the 11 year cycles of the sun. Must have been on a science trip during grade school.

    What is happening is a questioning of the use of it as a proxy thermometer, and at that as the spearhead of global warming. Nobody disputes it is as a record of multiparameter growth conditions.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

      Re: anna v (#109),
      Fair enough. That is preceisly the sense of proportion that I was asking be maintained.

  71. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    It appears that EWC might be more sensitive to precipitation, as per this paper.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#111), This has been discussed before. Those cedars are growing out the sides of sedimentary cliffs in southern Ontario. You’d be sensitive to precipitation too if you lived in that circumstance!

      • Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#112),

        Those cedars are growing out the sides of sedimentary cliffs

        Tell me what kind of sedimentary cliffs you are referring to. Please, do not answer with open-ended arguments.

  72. Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Dear Bender… Again, just apply the G-D principle. It is the load of energy being absorbed into the organism which is effective, not the energy penetrating in the organism. Otherwise, the plant would boil through “shoulder” seasons and would frost in cold season. The mechanism of defense against environmental changes of temperature is entirely chemical. When a photon penetrates into the plant, its absorption by one biomolecule shoots a cascade of reactions for maintaining the homeostasis of the organism; this way, the tree will avoid warming up or cooling off in excess for equaling its temperature with the environmental temperature; trees are not rocks! I am sure that the difference in the wideness of tree-rings growth responds to other factors, not to ambient changes of temperature.

    I agree with Ana, I do not consider -by simple biophysics- that the tree-rings are valid for measuring neither ancient nor current temperatures. It is simple, the trees are not thermometers. Something that could be useful is isotopes of some elements, which respond more mechanically to minimum changes of temperature.

    Bender… do you think that the internal temperatures of pines increase to a degree that the production of growth hormones also increases so that their stems are higher and wider at the end of one year, or that the stem vessels are overproduced because the tree gets too hot? None biophysical reason exists for this happens. However, the tree would widen its growth rings if soil humidity increases and causes stress. The tree would have to produce more Xylem vessels to take more water up to the needles and does not die by excess of water.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

      Re: Nasif Nahle (#113),

      I agree with Ana, I do not consider -by simple biophysics- that the tree-rings are valid for measuring neither ancient nor current temperatures.

      You are free to express your beliefs and to invoke a variety of mechanisms, both real and imagined, to dismiss the proposition that longer growing seasons leads to larger ring widths.

  73. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    #112 Bender, so what about this one (emphasis mine):

    Using dendrochronology to reconstruct disturbance and forest dynamics around Lake Duparquet, northwestern Quebec

    Yves Bergeron, , Bernhard Denneler, Danielle Charron and Martin-Philippe Girardin

    Dendrochronologia Volume 20, Issues 1-2, 2002, Pages 175-189

    Summary
    This paper presents a synthesis of the dendroecological work conducted in the area of Lake Duparquet in the southern boreal forest of northwestern Quebec (Canada) during the last 15 years. The topics of these syn- and autecological studies encompassed forest dynamics and tree growth related to natural disturbances such as forest fires, insect outbreaks, and flooding, as well as the effects of climate change. Seven major fire events occurred around Lake Duparquet since 1720: 1760, 1797, 1823, 1847, 1870, 1916, and 1944. Post-fire stand dynamics, established by a chronosequence of over 200 years, are characterized by the gradual transition from broadleaf dominated stands towards mixed and finally almost pure conifer stands. After fire, insect outbreaks are the second most important disturbance type in the southern boreal forest. Spruce budworm, the predominating defoliating insect, but also forest tent caterpillar and larch sawfly have major impacts on growth and stand dynamics of their respective host species. Global warming since the end of Little Ice Age around 1850 coincided with increasing precipitation and, hence, decreasing droughts in the southeastern boreal area of North America. The accelerated radial growth of eastern white-cedar and black ash at Lake Duparquet is a direct effect of these wetter climatic conditions. Population dynamics and forest composition, however, are rather indirectly affected by climate change through the alteration of the natural disturbance regimes, i. e., the decreased frequency and size of the forest fires and the increased frequency and amplitude of the spring floods. Potential consequences of future global warming on disturbance dynamics and forest composition are briefly discussed. The results of the dendroecological studies contributed to the elaboration of a natural-disturbance based forest management model for the southern boreal forest of Quebec.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#114),
      These cedars are growing at a rocky shoreline where moisture is limiting and temperature is not. Also, western Quebec is drier than eastern Quebec.

      • Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#116)

        Bender, I am compeled to tell you something that I have never told anyone: Please, read some books on biophysics or at least a good book on general biology. Nothing from what I have said has been invented. You are who is inventing biological processes.

        • bender
          Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: Nasif Nahle (#120),
          I never said you “invented” anything. I said you imagined something. Are you telling me that your notions of how microscale processes scale up to millenia of climate proxy is not imagined?

          Your recommendation is good, but vague. This is perhaps because you have not been listening and can not identify a specific flaw in my argument.

        • bender
          Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#122),

          You are who is inventing biological processes.

          Such as … ?

  74. Andreas W
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Re Bender.

    My question to you and to all dendro guys is this: Provide a physical theory that explains how a global temperature, can “tunnel through” the local temperature and hit the proxy directly without hitting local temperature. Just because you find a correlation between a proxy and the global temerature doesn’t mean you have a physical relationship.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

      Re: Andreas W (#117), I’ve explained teleconnection before. Read the blog. I’ll respond when it is clear you’ve attempted to understand what has already been written. That will indicate to me that you are serious.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

      Re: Andreas W (#117),

      Just because you find a correlation between a proxy and the global temerature doesn’t mean you have a physical relationship.

      I don’t disagree. But I’m not going to debate with anyone at length over the foundations of dendroclimatology.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

      Re: Andreas W (#117),
      Although it *may* be true that a local correlation (temperature record at point A, proxy at A) is always better than a remote correlation (temperature at B, proxy at A), a fundamental problem in dendroclimatology with timberline species is that there are virtually no weather stations at timberline. This frees up the dendroclimatologist quite a bit to hunt around for weather stations with putatively “similar” climate histories. You can see the problem here …

  75. Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    I have been reading along this thread and the thing which stands out most to me is that there are significant reasons for noise in the tree ring data. I just began an investigation how sorting high noise proxies for a correlation affects the scale of historic data.

    I believe that paleoclimatology is missing this key point in what happens to historic signal magnitude as compared to the calibration temperature range. I tried to demonstrate it in an initial post in as simple a fashion as I could.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/the-flaw-in-the-math-behind-every-hockey-stick/

    I believe this will affect all correlation selected temperature reconstructions no matter how “sensitive” the data set is.

  76. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Bender,

    So far I have not found a study on EWC in Eastern Canada that states unequivocally that EWC are related to temperature. It all points to moisture. I’ve just received the 1992 paper by Archambault and Bergeron on the Lac Duparquet chronology (thanks to Dr. Bergeron’s secretary). They indeed find that EWC growth is very well correlated with a drought index. In fact, it seems to show an inverse relation with temperature.

    Now the Lac Duparquet (Abitibi) series is still correlated with the Gaspe series (from what I read in the Dagneau report), so if one is indicative of moisture, why not the other one? If the Gaspe series comes from EWC that grow inland near the Ste-Anne river, this is NOT a maritime climate at all. You just have to take a 5 minute drive inland from Ste-Anne des Monts to realize that. Whether it’s dry or not is hard to tell. EWC does tend to grow on xeric sites (very thin soils with rock outcrops), and that’s probably why it is sensitive to moisture.

    Frankly I’m just trying to understand more about EWC here. The Gaspe series is intriguing as it is the only one with a HS. Neither the Abitibi, the Maine, or the Ile d’Orleans series show a HS. Of these the Maine would be the closest one.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#130), I agree with your skepticism on the idea of Gaspe cedars as a temperature proxy. “Maritime” is a relative term. It is a lot moister climate at Ste-Anne than on the Niagara excarpment in Ontario. That does not imply cedars at treeline are not primarily moisture limited.

      Again, I share your skepticism, as I’ve made clear in the past many times.

      But the hockey stick shape is the real problem. We see it in the Jacoby sample. Would we see it in a modern sample? Or would it disappear – the way Ababneh made the Graybill bcp uptick disappear?

  77. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Enjoy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Escarpment

    • Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#131),

      Now I understand why you are an advocate of the HS. Well, I will make use of your source of knowledge for this time. The author says the sedimentary cliff is made of dolomitic limestone… Dolomitic limestone. Will you say that dolomitic limestone does not absorb water?

      OTOH, you dismiss biological processes obtained empirically and invented biological responses matching exactly with changes of temperature, as if the plants were rocks.

  78. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    Bender,

    From the Archambault and Bergeron paper, the annual precipitation in the area of Lac Duparquet is 822 mm, of which only 20% is snowfall. The Ste-Anne des Monts station has 844mm, of which 239 mm (29%) is snowfall. Ste-Anne des Monts is obviously warmer (2.9 C mean) than Lac Duparquet (0.6 mean). But as far as precipitation goes, it’s quite similar.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#133),
      Your numbers agree with my characterization, although the annual differences are admittedly slight. More importantly, annual precip and temp are inadequate measures of plant moisture stress. The Duparquet summer climate is more stressful than Ste-Anne-des-Monts because of the way precip and temp are seasonally distributed (warmer summer maxima at Duparquet). The timberline of Gaspe is far colder than the shores of Lac Duparquet during the growing season. A problems is that there are no weather stations located precisely where the cedars are growing to prove this. Microclimate is critical and your numbers don’t reflect these differences.

      But we don’t even know where the Jacoby cedars are located! Do you want to write him about that?

  79. TeamUrbinto
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    snip – please don’t pile on

  80. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    Bender,

    E.R. Cook seems to be the one who knows. I’ve just written to him to enquire about the location of the trees.

  81. Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    Out of topic:

    Have you read this news?

  82. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    If one plots the ITRDB location on Google Earth, here’s what one gets:

    I’ve posted the SI to our NAture re-submission here as it contains some relevant discussion of Gaspe from a few years ago.

    In the SI to our Nature submission, we observed that Gaspé was not a “northern treeline” site but from an area with cedar logging activity as follows (given that we were only allowed 700 words, we exported a lot of material to the SI.)

    Although Gaspé, Quebec is described as a “northern treeline” series by Mann et al. (2003) and in the cited reference, it is in fact nowhere near the northern treeline, which is at least a thousand km away. Natural Resources Canada(11) describes the region as follows (photos below): “Forest covers about 95 percent of the Gaspé Peninsula. Fir, birch and maple are typically found here, as well as the impact of human activity. This image segment shows clearcutting in the peninsula’s interior, with recent cuts shown in bright pink. Less recent cuts, where the early vegetation is starting to grow back, is a yellow colour, while the older cutting sites (where the regrowing vegetation is more mature) is a light green. The uncut, standing forest is a dark green colour. From images such as this, forestry agencies and companies can determine how much cutting has taken place during a particular season, and whether natural regeneration needs to be “assisted”. Logging roads can also be mapped, whether for logging, firefighting, recreation or other uses.”

    It was interesting to re-read this, given some of the later criticisms of our submissions. Our Nature submission was more complete than our GRL submission in the sense that our GRL submission deliberately stuck to a couple of points and did not deal with the actual reconstruction, which we discussed in E&E. The SI includes RE and r2 statistics for recons using centered and uncentered Mannian PC methods. The main new thing in the GRL paper was the idea that spurious RE statistics could be generated from random data, which the Nature reviewers didn’t understand. However, by addressing this issue in our GRL article (which was running into space problems), we didn’t cover some issues that we dealt with in the Nature article.

  83. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    You’re absolutely right. If the location is correct, this is in fact not the Ste-Anne river at all, but the Bonaventure river (on which, BTW, I have been kayaking 2 years ago, and which is one of the clearest rivers in the world). No treeline there at all. Treelines could be found on the Chic-Choc mountains (Mt Albert for example)further north. But again, from what I know, white cedar would not be found around treeline areas.

  84. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I’m not too sure about cedar logging, however. There’s probably much more spruce logging than cedar, because there is much more spruce than cedar, and because spruce is used extensively for construction, and thus has more commercial value. Cedar is used mainly for fences, as far as I know. But the thing is that maybe the cedar was left there as the spruce was logged, and would have benefitted from less competition. That could explain the HS of the Gaspe series.

  85. Craig Loehle
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    re tree growth and temperature, please see my new paper:
    Loehle, C. 2008. A Mathematical Analysis of the Divergence Problem in Dendroclimatology. Climatic Change Climatic Change DOI 10.1007/s10584-008-9488-8.
    I can email reprints if anyone wants them. cloehle at ncasi.org

  86. Craig Loehle
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    What makes a tree temperature limited? One needs to consider the soil. A dolomite or limestone subsoil can be very dry with a thin soil cover. Where glaciers scrapped the surface, trees may be again growing on a thin organic layer which can dry out. In both of these situations, trees in a very wet place can be moisture limited, not temperature limited. Saying trees must be at treeline to be temperature limited is nonsense, because trees at treeline can be moisture limited (per bcp). If a tree is moisture limited per above, then cooler years can lead to better growth because there is less evaporation (the right side of the parabolic curve).
    On the question of leaves at 70degrees, it is not that the leaves are always at that temp, but that partially when the temp deviates too far from that they shut down.

  87. Andreas W
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Re Bender 126:

    I thought the debate over teleconnections was the situation when you had a proxy that didn’t correlate with local temperature, was consider a “good proxy” as long as long as it correlated with global temerature. As oppose to the situation where there is not enough grid cells. As i understand the teleconnection model it’s possible for the temperature to be locally cold at the same time it’s globally warm or vice versa. For ex the MWP was locally warm everywere, but globally cold. That’s an equation i can’t solve unless introducing complex temteratures with a real part an an imaginary part. I mean if there was a global signal it would most surely pop up in the local record as well.

  88. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    SI includes RE and r2 statistics for recons using centered and uncentered PC methods.

    Uncentered as in not centered at all.

    Not “decentered” as in incorrectly centered; dentered on something else rather than the normal way of doing it in real statistics.

    Ain’t love grand?

    Steve:
    Got to be on your toes. In our articles we used the term short-segment centering which was quite precise. There has never been any “confusion” on our part as to what Mann did – we explained it endlessly. But in deference to the terminologies being proposed at Tamino’s it would be better to say Mannian PC and avoid any confusion.

  89. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Steve, rereading your post above, I note that you are wondering what is the elevation of the Dagneau and Duchaine series. Obviously, from their report, it is nearly sea level (or at least St-Lawrence river level), as the samples come from Ile d’Orleans, that is pretty much flat terrain.

  90. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Thx. Y’know, the withholding of the Gaspé update by Jacoby and d’Arrigo has adversely the research record available to Dagneau and Duchaine. The correlation to the withheld update was 0.41 and high enough to be of interest to them. I presume that Jacoby and d’Arrigo took their update under a permit. Maybe someone from Quebec should request that they produce the data from their Gaspe update.

    I’ve never thought of cedars as a treeline tree in the first place. I think of them as more in bogs than at treeline. The Gaspe cedar thing made little objective sense in the first place.

  91. Scott Lurndal
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    As a long-time woodworker, who values ‘old growth’ lumber due to the relatively tight (close together) rings, as opposed to modern plantation raised lumber, one factor stands out and that’s the canopy. old-growth lumber grows in a light-constrained environment, thus grows more slowly generating thinner ring widths when compared to lumber that grows with unlimited insolation.

    So, given that the canopy changes over time due to fire, tree-line movement, deforestation by man, etc., just what effect does that have on using tree ring width from BCP or especially EWC to proxy temperature?

    • Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

      Re: Scott Lurndal (#150),

      Dear Scott… That’s exactly the response of the tissues to water stress also. You are correct on your observation about a correlation between the density of the frond and the growth of tree-rings. The production of more vessels of the vascular system of the tree (as a biological feedback to luminosity) is increased when the frond is denser; that is to say, when more leaves grew at the top of the tree. It has been demonstrated that the leaves of all trees grow better at 21.11 C. However, if water is scarce, no matter if the ambient temperature is the ideal or higher than the ideal, the leaves wouldn’t grow. It is a defensive mechanism developed by the plant against dehydration.

      The plants of the desert are well adapted to extreme drought conditions; most vascular plants living in arid regions have modified their leaves and transformed them into thorns to avoid excessive loss of water, besides other adaptations. I brought a cactus to my home from a semiarid region. Since the humidity at our location is almost always high, the cactus developed leaves instead thorns.

      A plant called pine-fir lives in the Mexican Anahuac Plateau, its leaves are needle-like and their trunks are approximately 100 cm width. It survives successfully to seasonal frosts and it doesn’t lose its leaves. However, when drought is present, the tree loses most of its leaves and becomes unsightly. Obviously, the tree is protecting itself from drought, despite our preferences on beauty, and the growth of the vascular system (width) and of branches (height) does stop. If I take the pine-fir like a thermometer, by thinking that the temperature enhances growth, my results would be flawed because it was not the cold which had stopped the tree-rings growth, but drought.

      As I have said two times, the energy which penetrates the plant is not cause of adaptation, but the energy absorbed by the plant tissues.

      Sorry for my English…

  92. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I’m trying to understand and I’m a bit confused. Dagneau and Duchaine refer to the ITRDB archived series COOK 1404-1982, which is cana036. Does the digitized version that you show here extend beyond 1982? Or is it just the cana036 series? If there is an unpublished update, why not ask Dagneau (I can ask if you want me to).

  93. Reference
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    Tum te tum Gaspé te tum Thuja te tum, te tum. This site looks interesting, http://www.foretgaspesie-les-iles.ca/ Ah now, how about this pdf report? Regeneration dynamics of Thuja Occidentalis L. in old mesic cedar stands on the Gaspé Peninsula. A natural regeneration study of Eastern White Cedar? Always wanted to know why it is so hard to grow Thuja sp. from seed. (OT).

    Wow, look at the spiral twist on those trunks, need to take care orientating the core barrel there. Let’s see now, where are these beauties located? Rivière Dartmouth watershed 49 01’N 64 50’W, 8% slope, (click on the Terrain button and Zoom out a bit). Inside the Forillon National Park? Oops, I’ll probably need permits to study there….

    Let’s try this location in the Réserve écologique de la Grande Rivèrie watershed 48 36’N 64 49’W (definitely need permits here!), 4% slope circa 200m elevation. Mesic slope?, mineral flush, plenty of ground water, all a Thuja needs for a long and happy life.

    Starbucks anyone? Naah, I don’t think so either.
    Useful list of acknowledgements though. :smile:

  94. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    bender, you say:

    Again, as before, this mechanism – which is not that strong a “decoupling” – operates within a certain range of temperature, not the full range of temperature. When it is 40F air temp, do you really think a bcp needle is 70F? Shoulder seasons. Growing season length. Stop blowing everything all out of proportion.

    Near as I can tell from the article, trees use this mechanism at all times. So it operates during the full range of temperature, but it is only able to maintain the leaf temperature at around 70°F during certain times.

    Regarding your claim that the mechanism is “not that strong”, let’s see, you claim a warming of 30°F = 17°C is not possible. I agree that seems a little extreme … but as I pointed out before, we don’t really know yet what trees are capable of.

    The paper, however, gives us some clues. It says that direct measurements of pine, fir, and spruce in Wyoming showed that they were at 9° – 16°F above the ambient air temperature. In addition, their Fig. 2b shows that gymnosperms (basically trees with needles) in cold regions run at around 22°F warmer than ambient (95%CI, 11° – 31°F). Not that strong? Seems quite strong to me, since 30°F is not out of the question.

    Note also that their Fig. 2b is an average over the growing season of leaf temperature vs. ambient air temperature. Since this biological mechanism can keep the leaves warmer by more than 20°F on average, this means that they absolutely must be able to effect an even larger instantaneous temperature rise than is shown by the average result.

    So I’d have to say that the data raise the strong possibility that a tree’s leaves can be 30°F warmer than ambient. And the data also shows the leaves can be maintained at an average of 20°F warmer than the ambient.

    So once again, bender, despite your vociferous claims, the data shows that I am not blowing anything out of proportion.

    What is out of proportion is your response of making all kinds of statements about what a newly discovered mechanism can and can’t do, without any citations, without seeming to have read the paper, and with plenty of abuse of other people in the process. That’s way out of proportion.

    You also say:

    The eagerness here to dismiss dendroclimatology is absurd. That it is an approximate science does not mean it is a fallacious science. Please try to maintain some sense of proportion.

    Again with the “proportion”, who made you the judge of proportion? … but I digress. I, and many others who post here, do not “dismiss dendroclimatology”, and we are very aware that it is an “approximate science”. Stop blowing everything out of proportion … as they say.

    My question is … just how approximate is it? That is to say, what are the real, total error bars (not just statistical error, but total error) on tree-ring based dendroclimatological reconstructions?

    We know that dendroclimatology is affected by the following errors:

    a) Dating errors.

    b) Ring-width measurement errors.

    c) Confounding climatic variables, including but not limited to:

    : total rainfall

    : total snowfall

    : number of frosts

    : timing of rainfall

    : timing of snowfall

    : timing of frosts

    : timing of snow melt

    : timing of hot/cold spells

    : humidity

    : average amount of cloud cover

    : soil moisture

    : CO2 level

    : average wind speed

    : prevailing wind direction

    : various climatic factors from the previous growing season

    d) Confounding non-climatic variables, including but not limited to:

    : fire

    : growth or death of shade trees

    : insect attack

    : earthquake, landslide, or ground movement

    : changes in soil nutrient levels

    : infiltration of tree stand by other competing species

    e) Errors due to inherent non-linearity of tree-ring response to temperature.

    f) Errors due to inherent non-invertibility of “U” shaped response.

    g) Inherent statistical errors due to sample size.

    h) Increased errors due to LTP/autocorrelation.

    i) Errors due to the short length of the comparison/verification observational datasets.

    And now, in addition to these 29 (at least) sources of error, we need to add a new error source of unknown size, the previously unknown ability of the trees to maintain leaf temperatures which are different from ambient air temperatures.

    Does this mean we should “dismiss dendroclimatology”? No, by no means … but it does mean that defenders of dendroclimatology like yourself need to show that we can get useful information using dendroclimatology. And since in the current context “useful information” seems to mean a resolving power of a couple of degrees at the time of the MWP, that is a tall order.

    You seem to think the problem is that we “dismiss dendroclimatology”. But to me, the shoe is on the other foot. The problem is that people such as yourself “assert dendroclimatology” without anything like what I would consider proper evidence that the error bars are narrow enough to give us any useful information about what happened in the year 1400.

    PPS – There is an assumption in the dendroclimatological community that, by the use of averages, these errors will somehow all magically cancel out. But of the 1209 proxies in Mann’s paper, some 663 of them are non-normal at the 0.01 level (Jarque-Bera test). And when you average non-normal datasets, there is absolutely no guarantee that errors will average out, and every chance that they will not.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

      Re: Willis Eschenbach (#153),

      let’s see, you claim a warming of 30°F = 17°C is not possible. I agree that seems a little extreme

      Thank you.

      trees use this mechanism at all times. So it operates during the full range of temperature, but it is only able to maintain the leaf temperature at around 70°F during certain times

      Thank you.

      That is all I wanted confirmation on.

      • jae
        Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#156),

        let’s see, you claim a warming of 30°F = 17°C is not possible. I agree that seems a little extreme

        If one were to view a pine needle as a miniature greenhouse, which I think is plausible, then 30 F is very reasonable.

        • bender
          Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

          Re: jae (#162),
          Recall the context of the discussion. First, you need the temperature rise of 30F to occur. Second, you need the growth rate to rise above negligible, all the way to peak. I am having difficulty imagining this happening to a timberline tree in early May. But I am willing to be convinced by data.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: Willis Eschenbach (#153),

      Does this mean we should “dismiss dendroclimatology”? No, by no means …

      Glad to hear it.

      but it does mean that defenders of dendroclimatology like yourself need to show that we can get useful information using dendroclimatology.

      Do not mistake me for a “defender”. There is a big difference between explaining something and defending it. For example, although I find the teleconnection principle a bit difficult to explain, I find it almost impossible to defend. Similarly, I can not defend the use of univariate linear calibration models except as weak approximations. Indeed, that is why I cited Willis’s extensive list of caveats in another thread. He needn’t have duplicated them here. I did that for him already.

  95. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    #151. The update was done by Jacoby-d’Arrigo in 1991 or so but never reported or archived. Dagneau didn’t know about it. Jac-d’Arr stonewalled my request – see the JAcoby category old links – but they would have a harder time stonewalling Dagneau. But maybe they’ve lost the data now.

  96. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    The Duparquet and old Gaspe series cana036 correlate to 0.26 over the common interval 1404-1840 (pre-HS blade) and 0.15 if you include the blade (1404-1982). So the blade is not in any series other than the one old Gaspe series. Can you say junksci?

    The Duparquet drought code (1913-1982) explains 15% of the variation in the Duparquet cedar, but none of the the variation in the old Gaspe cedar. No “teleconnection” there.

  97. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I get it. Where did you get the update from? Is that a secret?

    Still wondering why they would call it Ste-Anne river when it’s Bonaventure river. It’s probably important because the Chic-Choc mountains separate the hydrological basins: Ste-Anne goes north, Bonaventure goes south to Chaleur Bay. Presumably this affects the local climate. Maybe the coordinates are wrong. Still waiting for a reply from Cook.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#157),
      They likely collected *near* Riv-Ste-Anne or, more accurately, near a feature that carries the Riv-Ste-Anne label, such as a campground or field station, or even a bus stop on a forestry tour. The names dendros give their plots is sometimes somewhat obscure. It’s the lat/lons that matter.

  98. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    I am going to ignore one of the commenters here, for the good reason that I can see nothing productive come of it. I see a pile of misreperesentation that is not worth the time refuting. Suffice it so say: I categorically do not support the hockey stick hypothesis.

    • Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#158),

      I am going to ignore one of the commenters here, for the good reason that I can see nothing productive come of it. I see a pile of misreperesentation that is not worth the time refuting. Suffice it so say: I categorically do not support the hockey stick hypothesis.

      Heh! Another “Nameless one”? I still think you’re joking.

  99. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    Bender,

    I could ask Dagneau what he thinks of all this. Interestingly enough, he’s in the anthropology department at Uni. of Montreal. Maybe he has some inside info. Also Yves Bergeron who did Lac Duparquet is right here in Montreal, at UQAM.

  100. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    bender, you say:

    Re: Willis Eschenbach (#153),

    let’s see, you claim a warming of 30°F = 17°C is not possible. I agree that seems a little extreme

    Thank you.

    trees use this mechanism at all times. So it operates during the full range of temperature, but it is only able to maintain the leaf temperature at around 70°F during certain times

    Thank you.

    That is all I wanted confirmation on.

    That may be all you wanted confirmation on … but it doesn’t begin to deal with your incorrect claims, or with the issue of whether, as you seem to think, paleoclimatology can overcome all of the errors I listed and give us useful information.

    However, I can understand your reluctance to deal with substantive issues. If I were in your shoes I’d likely do just what you are doing … point at the salad, hope everyone forgets about the meat, insult some people to muddy the waters, come back and quote me entirely out of context, ignore the fact that I have shown your claims to be false … and then say you only were looking for confirmation on peripheral issues. Yes, that’s the ticket …

    Look, bender, you said:

    Do you really think a “stand” of bcps can bring the ambient temperature from 50F to a wonderfully constant 70F?

    I pointed out that it didn’t need to do anything the ambient air temperature, all that was necessary was to change the leaves temperature. You had made a stupid newbie mistake, thinking that the trees needed to warm the ambient air … but of course, you just blasted right on past when your error was pointed out, you ignored it, without apologizing to anna v. for abusing her based on your ignorance.

    Then you claimed that it didn’t make sense to think that trees could warm their leaves by 30°. I said this seemed extreme, which it did … and then I went on to show that even though it seems extreme, the paper shows that it is definitely possible for this to happen on average, it is within their 95%CI, and thus it is almost certainly happening on an instantaneous basis.

    Your response? Ignore the error you had made by not reading (or perhaps reading but not understanding) the original paper, and quote me out of context as though I supported your points …

    And after that you want to lecture us on maintaining a sense of proportion? After seeing you duck and dodge to avoid admitting that you had made two such stupid, childish errors because you hadn’t done your homework, you want to try to tell us what is science and what is not? Sorry, bro’, but after those two whoppers and your response to having them pointed out, you are clearly not qualified to lecture a second grade class on science. Among other things, science includes the process of admitting where our knowledge is wrong … that’s the first step in getting it right, and it is a step you seem to think you can ignore. If you want to get back on track, you could start by admitting where you have been shown to be wrong, and by apologizing for abusing people based on your wrong understanding.

    And if you want to substantiate your claim that paleoclimatology is a real science (which it may well be), you need to show that paleoclimatology can overcome the error sources I listed and give us useful results. So far, all you’ve done is make wildly incorrect statements and uncited claims, followed by a refusal to acknowledge your errors, much less to investigate what effect those errors might have had on your underlying beliefs.

    w.

  101. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    Sorry it’s come to this Willis, but you are shadow boxing against something that I’ve neither said nor “believe” in.

    I’m not a defender of dendroclimatology. But I’m not a dismisser either. I suspend belief. The mechanisms mentioned by you, Nasif, anna v are simply not strong enough to tip the balance toward dismissal. Try harder.

  102. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    #160 Wait a minute! there seems to be a bug in Google Earth. When you ask to go to 48.35N, 65.55W, it takes you somewhere, but if you look at the coordinates for your pointer (at the bottom left of the screen), that’s not where you are! The location would be a bit further west and further north. That takes you near the Cascapedia river (the “big” or the “small” one, I can’t figure out).

    No bus stop there! But plenty of forestry and/or mining roads. Still not near the Ste-Anne river.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#170),
      Are you confusing decimal degrees with degrees, minutes? By “bus stop” I mean a place where a bunch of dendros might stop while on one of their traditional “field weeks”.

  103. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    I suggested that it seems reasonable to suppose that growing season length is a variable that is likely to be altered by climate warming, and that these mechanisms that are the supposed ruin of dendroclimatology are not likely to be as important in the shoulder seasons.

    This is not a belief. It is a conjecture. It was offered as a counterpoint to anna v’s suggestion that dendroclimatologists are perhaps not aware of the importance of some new results in tree physiology. I attempted to explain why these “new” results won’t cause the dendros to drop their coring tools and shut down the computers any time soon.

    A bunch of you took exception to this. Why is beyond me.

  104. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    No way to verify whether their stated lat/lons are correct if they won’t talk to you. My bet is they sampled near Lac-Ste-Anne, where it joins with Riv-Ste-Anne. Or else inside the parc haute gaspesie. One of the picnic sites there is namesd “de la riviere”. (Remember, these guys probably don’t know French. There’s no guarantee on place names.)

    If you don’t know where exactly they sampled, then sample a bunch of spots. You should get a roughly similar signal from all of them. And if you don’t, so much the better! ;)

  105. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    #172 Bender, actually Steve is the one who is confused. I’m pretty sure the coordinates at ITRDB are not digital, but deg,min,sec (I’ve checked numerous data, none have fractions higher than 0.59, so…).

    There is a main road not too far from this new location, that is the road going from Ste-Anne des Monts to New Richmond. I suspect that you can take a forestry road from there to the location of the cedars. It would be about 70-80 km from New Richmond, and about the same from Ste-Anne des Monts. The road does follow the Ste-Anne river for some time, so that may be why they called it that way. I suspect that the cedars would be not too far from the (Cascapedia) river, probably on xeric ground also.

    Apart from chasing old cedars, you can also fish salmon over there.

    Steve: I agree that the ITRDB data is degree minute; that’s what I wrote. I had a space between the numbers not a decimal point. Not as clear as it could be admittedly, but I wasn’t misinterpreting the point.

  106. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    #157. I didn’t get the data surreptiously but it was probably sent by accident and the person didn’t want to get into the war that might ensue.

  107. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    Bender, the samples were taken ca 1983-84. The parc de la Gaspésie was much less developed back then than it is now. No picnic areas back then. Only crazy hikers and x-country skiers like me would go there. Mt-Albert can actually be quite dangerous, although it’s beautiful. Southernmost location for subarctic vegetation, and a large population of elks. Today, there’s a four star hotel there…

    OTOH there was always much salmon fishing in the rivers (that would be rich Americans…).

  108. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Sometimes people argue that I’d be more successful in getting data if I asked nicely or if CA were nicer. Here is correspondence regarding Gaspe prior to CA being started. It’s as polite as anyone could ask. And CA didn’t exist. After a year of effort, I got nothing. This obviously not an isolated incident.

    3/19/2004
    Dear Dr Cook,
    I note that you collected this site (cana036) many years ago. I was wondering if you published on this site and, if so, could provide me a reference. Thanks, Steve McIntyre

    3/22/2004
    I have not published anything about this chronology. Gordon Jacoby and Rosanne D’Arrigo have used it however in some of their climate reconstructions. You will need to contact them for references.
    Ed

    3/22/2004
    Thanks for the reply. I’ve seen the Jacoby-d’Arrigo references and, in fact, that’s what occasioned my interest. It was included in their “northern treeline” index – which seemed a little odd to me, since the site is far from the treeline. I also notice that the earliest portion of the chronology (not used by Jacoby and d’Arrigo) is based only on one tree. If you were doing the chronology today, would you include the portion based on only one tree in your site chronology?  Also do you know (from past notes or otherwise) any details about potential logging or other forestry operations in the area? 
    Thanks, Steve McIntyre
     
    3/29/2004
    Dear Ed,
    Curiously, this site has an extraordinarily large (and disproportionate) influence in the results of Mann et al (1998). I’m planning to get a tree ring specialist from Quebec to re-visit the site. Do you by any chance have a map (or other description) of your sample locations which you could send me?
     
    Also, the early part of the archived chronology is based on only one tree. Would it be fair to say that if you were to re-do the chronology today, you would not publish the portion of the chronology relying on only one tree?
    Thanks, Steve McIntyre
     
    4/12/2004
    Hi, bringing forward this inquiry again and checking whether you had a map of the sample locations for cana036?  Thanks, Steve McIntyre

    4/14/2004
    Dear Rosanne,
    I [understand] that there is some data extending Ed Cook’s archived data (ending in 1982) up to 1991. It is highly relevant to some studies that I am currently carrying out and I would appreciate the updated series version both in crn and rwl forms. Thank you for your attention.
    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    4/14/2004 [communicated from Rosanne]
    the data you have are probably superior with regards to a NH signal.
     
    5/5/2004
    Dear Dr. Cook,
    I was hoping that you could attend to this inquiry. I was hoping to get to this site in June or July.  It’s also my understanding that other unarchived data from Gaspe has been collected by LDEO and I would appreciate information on this as well. Thank you for your attention.
    Regards,
    Steve McIntyre
     
    8/23/2004
    Dear Dr. Cook, I’ve run across short discussions of this chronology in Sheppard and Cook, Natural Areas Journal (1988) and again in Cook and Peters (1987). I would like to arrange for someone to visit this site prior to winter and would appreciate particulars on its exact location.
    In the Natural Areas Journal article, you also reference a cedar site in Michigan which has not been archived. I presume that the pending cedar site in Maine refers to Sag Pond – is this correct?
    Regards, Steve McIntyre

    9/24/2004
    will send something to you next week.
    Ed

    10/15/2004
    Any progress with this?
    Steve

    10/15/2004
    Hi Steve,
    I will do my best next week. I have been a bit over the top on things lately.
    Ed

    11/16/2004
    Any progress on this?
    Steve

    1/31/2005
    Dear Dr. Cook, as I mentioned in my email to Connie Woodhouse, I would appreciate a listing of the sites used in your interest recent article in Science , Cook et al [2004], preferably in a format that includes ITRDB codes where available. Connie Woodhouse mentioned that you travel frequently – which is certainly evident from the varied places that you have reported on. I think that it would be a good idea to simply archive the listing as an additional SI, but in any event, I would appreciate the listing. Thanks, Steve McIntyre

    PS if you’ve had an opportunity to locate the exact location of the Ste Anne River, Gaspe tree series, I would appreciate it. I’ve had no luck getting the 1991 update to this series from Dr Jacoby, all of which is quite frustrating, and lends itself to criticism.

    2/4/2005
    Dear Connie, I’ve sent a request to Cook without any acknowledgement. In view of Cook’s previous behaviour, I do not think that the problem arises from Cook’s travel. In your capacity as a co-author, I re-iterate my request for identification of the sites and, if you do not have the information, request that you take responsibility for obtaining the information and then forwarding to me. I’m tired of sending unacknowledged emails to Cook. Regards, Steve McIntyre

  109. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Gee, Google Earth is an amazing tool! O.K I’m pretty convinced that it is near the little Cascapedia river. There seems to be a forestry road very near. The area around appears to have been extensively logged, but not that particular spot (of course, as I noted, cedars would not be logged). Of course it all depends on how accurate their coordinates are. There was no GPS back then. But the precision they give lets me think that it was quite accurate.

  110. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    #157. From our experience in Colorado, lat longs may not be very accurate. Schweingruber’s lat-longs for Pike’s Peak were 60 miles off! But it is evidence. It was amazing that Pete H nailed Graybill’s Almagre site so exactly.

    Your observation about the name of the site makes sense, but, at a certain point, it’s just reading tea leaves.

    #178. while there was no GPS in 1983, geologists managed to locate sites so that the next geologist could find the site.

  111. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

    #177 Wow! Maybe I should forget about Cook’s reply! Maybe Bergeron will be a better source. He does cite Cook as “personal communication (1986)”.

  112. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    #179 60 miles! Well, in any case, it would be much easier to get to the trees from the main road. Otherwise it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, it seems. I mean, how would they have found the trees? Apart from forestry roads, this is not a place where you can just freely walk in the forest. All dense black spruce, and gazillions of mosquitoes. The main road follows the “main” Cascapedia river. Maybe you can even see the trees from the road ?!

    • bender
      Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#181),
      “Find” them? They probably just ran into them while on a random road trip. Thse guys were not scouring the earth searching high and low for valid proxies in the 1980s. They were not sampling uniform grids. They were winging it.

  113. bender
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

    Worth noting that Mann has probably less of an idea than we do about the location and value of this “proxy”.

  114. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    #183 Well, someone, somehow, decided that this was a good place where to look! It must have been known that there were very old cedars in the area. Since there is a lot of logging, surely there were forest engineers who scouted the area, and maybe they had spotted the trees. Researchers like Bergeron are very much involved in forest management.

  115. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 23, 2008 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    This is the only published statement on Gaspé. And yet it got inhaled as an essential “proxy” in multiple studies. No subsequent white cedar series showed the “ramp”.

    After standardization of raw ring widths, a site chronology should have a long-term men of 1 and a homogeneous time-stable variance (Cook 1985b). Any short-term departure from these criteria, such as shown in this chronology from 1850 to present, warrants special attention. Does that ‘ramp’ of increasing indices truly indicate a climate change lasting 130 years? Or is it that some influence other than climate change is affecting northern white-cedar growth in Gaspé Peninsula? Some hypothesis exist, based on tree physiology, about possible causes of such a rend, but since inky one northern white cedar chronology exists, other basic questions remain. Do stands of northern white cedar from other areas show similar trends of increasing relative growth ? Are their climate response models similar? Also do other species in Gaspé Peninsula ho a similar growth trend? Until other northern white cedar chronologies are analysed, (we currently are analyzing cores from two other sites in Maine and Michigan ) these basic questions cannot be answered. Natural Areas Journal, 1988, 7-12

    • bender
      Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#185),
      Hmmm, the rend *is* inky.

      But whatever happened to the Maine and Michigan cedar chronologies? Mann didn’t like the taste of those cherries?

      This is not a ringing endorsement of EWC as a temperature-limited proxy. It sounds about as dodgy as Graybill’s strip-bark pine trees.

      Nice reference. Hadn’t seen that one.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#185),

      Do stands of northern white cedar from other areas show similar trends of increasing relative growth ? Are their climate response models similar? Also do other species in Gaspé Peninsula ho a similar growth trend? Until other northern white cedar chronologies are analysed, (we currently are analyzing cores from two other sites in Maine and Michigan ) these basic questions cannot be answered.

      The new data so far are indicating that Cook & Jacoby may have happened to get quite a bad sample. If I were NAS, given this dubious assessment and the lack of uptick in these other samples, I would advise against using EWC in global temperature reconstructions. At least until further notice.

      These trees in this area are not nearly as convincing a temperature proxy as, say, treeline white spruce in Yukon and Alaska (see unthreaded #36).

      The metadata for cana036 specifically state: “NO ELEVATION GIVEN”.

      Francois O: do you have elevations for the candidate sites? I bet they are not even higher than 700m.

  116. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    If the Gaspe samples come from near the Cascapedia river, it’s useful to learn more about the area. The history of New Richmond is intimately linked to logging. Here’s what I could find. Pardon the clumsy translation:

    Already in 1765, 900 ship masts were logged near Bonaventure, a few km away, for the English navy. Around 1790, Azariah Pritchard was granted 1000 acres of forest near the little Cascapedia river, and started a sawing operation, selling his wood to England. Between 1818 and 1822, 12 ships full of timber were sent to England each year. In 1844, the Gaspe Fishery and Coal Mining company acquired 130,000 acres of forest in the area, opened a sawmill, and employed nearly 500 people. Thus New Richmond became the first industrialized town in the area.

    The trees were mostly pine and fir. As a matter of fact, I believe that most of the tall pines were logged back then, because you don’t find much anymore today. That alone could have made a significant change to the forest environment. The fact that you find multi-hundred year old cedars is a clear indication that it was not exploited commercially, thus most probably left standing while the trees around were felled.

  117. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    I’ve moved comments arguing about basic dendro issues to an old Unthreaded thread. We’re all aware of the issues regarding dendro proxies. I think that it is far more useful to probe small topics than to argue the “big” topics in generalities and sound bites. It’s not that the big topics aren’t important or that we don’t want to get there, but I’m not interested in general first principles debate in one paragraph sound bites about the validity of dendroclimatology. Let’s try to advance on small points and see if it gets anywhere.

    This is a purely editorial decision.

  118. bender
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    I hope this episode will serve as a lesson to anyone seeking to “pile on” to vague and nonsensical criticism of dendroclimatology-in-general. I can agree to let that kind of nonsense go unchecked in “unthreaded”, but not in the topical threads. The topic here is specifically Gaspé cedars.

  119. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    This very recent study looks in detail at two stands of white cedar, one at 49 01 N, 64 50 W on Darthmouth river, the other at 48 36 N, 64 49 W on Grande Rivière. They claim that some of the trees could be as old as 650 yrs, though that is an extrapolation since they did not sample the whole diameter. They do refer to Archambault and Bergeron about the finding of 550 yr old specimens. It’s not the same paper that I have, but rather:

    Archambault, S., Bergeron, Y., 1992. Discovery of a Living 900 Year-old Northern White Cedar, Thuja occidentalis, in Northwestern Québec. Canadian Field-Naturalist 106(2):192-195.

    I also found out that, contrary to what I said, fir is now much more common in Gaspesia (86% of the forest), and has replaced spruce since the 1930’s, following an epidemics that decimated the population. Maybe this is another clue?

    Yves Bergeron will be back on Sept. 29. I’ll try to contact him and see if what he knows about the Gaspe series.

  120. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, prior to taking the white cedar sample in Gaspe, Cook had sampled numerous eastern hemlock sites up and down the Appalachians as drought proxies. The cedar looks like a tack on to that program.

    The Mann et al dendro series with the highest correlation to Mannian temperature is nh002, a Cook hemlock series in New Hampshire with no HS pattern (which was what remined me of this.) If you do a search for eastern hemlock at the ITRDB search function, you get about 48 Cook series from this period.

  121. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    #192 Bender, on Google Earth, the elevation near the Cascapedia river is less than 200m. The study mentioned in my previous post does not give elevation, but it is also near a river.

    The same author (Barbara Hébert) has this nice presentation, this time in English, with some very nice pictures.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#194),
      Not only is it nice, it indicates that the cedars are in fact occurring in mixed stands with spruce and fir. Cook and Jacoby are smart enough ecologists that they would likely not sample cedars in an open area where spruce and fir were obviously removed by logging or killed by spruce budworm. But if they were in a wetter area of closed forest (as in the slides) and the real damage was at higher elevations they might not have realized that their cedars were experiencing a nitrogen pulse from the insect damage upslope.

      The other factor I would not rule out would be a change in soil temperature. Small changes here could have large impacts, especially in moist, cool, closed, shaded, sites like those. In fact, that whole presentation is about “gap dynamics” caused by “natural disturbance”. It is possible there were some heavy windstorms in the 1840s that cleared out much of the competing cedar and fir, leaving the veteran surviving cedar free to grow.

      I would encourage this group to archive their data. I suspect it will be highly comparable to Cook and Jacoby’s sample. Indeed, they may even have cores from trees in closed and open circumstances, given that this was a thinning experiment. (“rosary cut” – so much for the “Quiet Revolution”!)

  122. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 24, 2008 at 9:59 PM | Permalink

    Steve, would you still be interested in sampling those trees? Barbara Hébert has taken some cores, but not measured them. The samples may still be available. Maybe that could be enough to compare with the Gaspe series, and the Jacoby update?

  123. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    #196 Bender, from what I’ve read, white cedar outlives both spruce and fir. The latter two live for less long, and are susceptible to fire and insects. White cedar is somehow immune from most insects (except maybe ants). It may be because it doesn’t have extensive colonies like spruce and fir.

    It seems to me that the HS appears mostly in the 20th century. There were many important changes in the forest environment in Gaspesia during that period: insect epidemics have led to the demise of spruce in favor of balsam fir (that went from 40 to 80 % of the forest), and there was more and more extensive logging. So any interpretation of anomalous 20th century growth should take those factors into account, before assigning it solely to climate change, especially since white cedar is not known for reacting solely to temperature (in fact quite the opposite). The inclusion of the Gaspe series in a global temperature reconstruction is hardly justifiable.

  124. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    This is like detective work! I just found out that there is a protected area of “ancient forest” on the little Cascapedia river! It is described here, and there is even a map. It does not correspond to the Gaspe series location, but rather it is at 48 22 N and 66 46 W, so a bit to the west and south of the Gaspe series.

  125. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    That’s not far away from 48 35N 65 55W, that’s for sure. There should be online maps of the area to the west on the same scale. They are used for mining leases. Maybe we could stake mining claims on Jacoby’s site. Maybe we could experiment with tree ring sampling as an experimental mineral exploration technology. Sell flow-through shares.

  126. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    This other protected forest near Chandler apparently has cedars as old as 650 years, and as much as 130 cm in diameter.

    There is a treasure there! What the hell are dendrochronologists waiting for! Ah! I know, no Starbucks…

  127. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    #199 Steve, you can find maps on that scale for most of Quebec. I have a lot of them that we used on our hiking trips.

  128. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Gaspe is in NTS 22A. I’ve used the online maps for staking claims a few years ago, but I forget how to access them.

  129. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    #202 Steve, some people are now looking for oil over there…and finding some. Maybe I should stake claims too! (probably too late…)

    I’ve just e-mailed Barbara Hebert, asking her if they had made tree ring measurements on their samples, and if she was aware of such measurements on the Chandler forest specimens.

  130. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    Bingo! I just had a nice chat with Barbara Hébert (who was kind enough to call me back). She’s sending me her tree ring data!

    The oldest specimen she estimates is 600-650 yrs old, but she only sampled about half the diameter, and counted ca 360 rings. It came from the Darthmouth river site, about 20 km from Gaspe. The environment is “mesic”, with gentle slope and mineral soil, at about 100-200m altitude.

    BTW, the Lake Duparquet trees come from cliffs, and it’s a very similar environment than the Niagara escarpments, so quite dry.

    Also, she has heard about the Gaspe series, but doesn’t know more about it, and referred me to Yves Bergeron.

  131. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Another thing, Barbara Hebert thinks that the Darthmouth river site is more pristine than the Chandler site. The latter is only 8km from the town, and the surrounding forest has been exploited quite a bit.

  132. bender
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    Brilliant! Thanks, Mme Hébert!

  133. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    Francois and Bender, I might have found the Gaspe cedar location. Take a look here here . Right description, right location AND, like Graybill sites, easy access.

    Original Caption: headwaters of the Ste Anne River

    On the morning of our second day, we started our ‘serious’ exploration of the Gaspé by driving north up the 86-mile valley of the Grand Cascapedia River, which rises near the Chic Choc mountains in the central part of the peninsula. Highway 299 is a great road, with very little traffic, winding its way between the fast-flowing river and forest covered hills.

    It was about 11:30 AM by the time we reached the Gite du Mont-Albert area of Gaspésie Provincial Park, the main starting point for tourist activities in this part of Quebec, renowned for its hiking and winter-skiing activities.

    After paying our C$3.50 per person day-use fee at the Interpretive Centre, Sue and I confirmed that the higher trails leading into the peaks were still closed due to snow depth, so we decided to at least try the relatively short ‘Belvedere (Lookout) de la Lucarne’ route. Here, Sue is starting up the trail through the forest shortly after noon and the 2nd photo shows me with some of the peaks in the background as we emerge in a clearing higher up the slope. The 3rd photo shows one of the trail signposts to help keep us sorted out on the interconnecting system (along with a small map that I had printed from the internet before leaving home). In less than a half-hour, we had reached the wooden ‘belvedere’ on a small rise, where we had great views of the mountains in all directions (4th and 5th photos). Because the trails are interconnected, we decided to continue onward down the slopes to the nearby Sainte-Anne River and circle back to the Gite area by a different route….

    We had noticed many piles of Moose droppings as we ascended and, sure enough, only a few minutes after leaving the belvedere we stumbled upon one of these large beasts browsing beside the trail. It was as surprised as we were and ambled off into the forest before I could draw my camera!

    After descending from our Lucarne ‘lookout’ perch, we crossed Highway 299 and quickly encountered the narrow upstream reaches of the Sainte-Anne River as seen here. A very well-built pedestrian bridge (2nd photo) allowed for easy crossing and we were soon exploring along the banks of this fast-flowing and clear body of water. We had brought a cooler with us when we left on this Gaspé trip and used supplies from it to make ourselves some cheese and tomatoe sandwiches before setting of on the hike. There were not a lot of dry places to sit in the forest this early in the season, but we managed to find some boulders beside the river to use as seats while we enjoyed an early afternoon picnic and the sound of rushing water (3rd photo).

    On our way back to our parked car, we continued along this side of the river before crossing a second foot-bridge to return to our starting point. Along the way we came across many places where winter snow was still hanging on in the shadows of the forest (4th photo) and also a few diversions off the trail because of winter blow-down trees (5th photo). Shortly after skirting that large specimen snapped off at ground level, we met two Park maintenance workers heading toward it with a chainsaw as they carried out their clean-up duties prior to the real start of the tourist season. By 2:30 PM, we were in our car and headed for the north coast, planning to stay in Ste.-Anne-des-Monts where our little stream finally reaches the St. Lawrence River.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#207),

      Gite du Mont-Albert

      Aha!! Very, very close to my first guess!

      Regarding pests of cedar. The biggest pest of cedar is cedar leaf miner (on that list). But I believe I’ve posted on that before at CA.

    • Peter
      Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#207),

      A little forestry reality check: When I hear: …and also a few diversions off the trail because of winter blow-down trees (5th photo). Shortly after skirting that large specimen snapped off at ground level, we met two Park maintenance workers heading toward it with a chainsaw as they carried out their clean-up duties… I can guarantee you that a blowdown near a slow growing species like EWC, or any significant clearing around the specimen, WILL without any doubt cause a HS in the growth rings. This is what foresters do for living – increasing growth by thinning stands – the effect is clearly visible and very striking. Using a specimen that is clearly not an isolated tree, you WILL get this kind of growth spikes as the stand evolves. here

      • bender
        Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

        Re: Peter (#217),
        Yep. And the soil of the boreal shield is not stable and fir is especially prone to blowdown, even moreso when it’s infected with root rot. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if the spike was wind-caused, possibly even a tornado.

        • Reference
          Posted Sep 27, 2008 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#218),

          Or mayhaps, the occasional passing hurricane like Kyle?

        • bender
          Posted Sep 27, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

          Re: Reference (#219),
          You have a point. That would be worth researching. The year to look at would be the 1830s. If you think of the damage that was done by Juan in Halifax in 2003, I bet there are quite a few hockey stick responses happening right now in Point Pleasant Park.

  134. Barney Frank
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Re #197

    White cedar is somehow immune from most insects (except maybe ants).

    Cedars contain an oil which is a natural insect repellant. Carpenter ants do colonize cedars but seldom seriously harm the tree.

  135. Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    Dear Steve,

    I found the next articles on some pests of White Cedar. I hope they are useful for your research:
    http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/pls/portal30/docs/folder/ikmp/pw/gard/gn2003_001.pdf
    http://www.lrconline.com/Extension_Notes_English/pdf/cdr.pdf

    http://www.maes.msu.edu/uptic/library/Ecology.pdf

    http://hort.ufl.edu/trees/THUOCCA.pdf

  136. Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    http://www.uoguelph.ca/pdc/Factsheets/PDFs/006CedarPestsDiseases.PDF

  137. bender
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    I can’t wait to see the Hébert chronology and how it compares to these others. Make sure to get the individual tree data if you can. We will want to see if some trees have HS shapes while others do not. If you want that “unique advantage” to “make cherry pie”, that is :)

  138. Geoff
    Posted Sep 25, 2008 at 11:07 PM | Permalink

    I’m not sure where the nearest Starbucks would be, but I don’t think you (or the Team) would suffer too much to stay here on a visit to update the proxies. The picures also give a sense of the ridges.

  139. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Well, I told you about the 4 star hotel, though I don’t remember it being that reknowned in the early 80’s (maybe because I was too poor then to notice…).

    But I’m not convinced about the Ste-Anne river. I hypothesized that it could be next to that road, but according to the coordinates, it would be further south, along the Cascapedia river. But now, after reviewing maps and comparing with Google Earth views, I’m pretty convinced that it was near the Little Cascapedia river, and not the Grand Cascapedia river where the main road is. That is because there is a road all along the Little Cascapedia, something not obvious on Google Earth, but very clear on the maps. The ancient forest that I talked about in an earlier post is itself along that road on the banks of the Little Cascapedia, but further south. As is becoming obvious, ancient cedar stands are rather common along the rivers. It is straightforward to imagine that dendros could have driven all the way up the forest road along the Little Cascapedia and maybe walked a bit up the river at the end of the road to find the most pristine site.

    Any site too close to the main road would have been exploited already. Though cedar is not a hugely commercial exploitation, the very old trees (like the ones Barbara Hébert has sampled) have quite a large diameter, 1m or even more. So they would have commercial value.

    This is of course still a hypothesis. I think that unless Ed Cook decides to break the silence, or we find someone else who was there, we will never know where these cedars come from. On the other hand, the coordinates must be precise and accurate, as the small scale maps that we talked about were commonly available back then.

    It’s too bad that it’s that late in the season, as I would have been very tempted to take a drive over there and take a look by myself, because it’s a really nice area anyway. But it’s quite a long drive from Montreal (about 9 hours), so it’s not a weekend trip…Maybe next summer…

  140. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Francois, can you scan the relevant part of the map and send it to me.

  141. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Steve, actually I used Google maps, simultaneously with Google Earth. With the former, you can switch from plan to satellite to relief, it’s really useful. So you can identify what is a road on the satellite picture. If a road is indicated on the map, it has to be relatively accessible, I guess. Google Earth gives you the coordinates, which Google maps doesn’t (or if it does I couldn’t find it). So I switched from window to window, trying to match the scales so I could find the exact location on Google maps.

    Actually, the location would be about 5-6km up the river from where the road veers away (there is a tool on Google Earth to measure distances). This is a stretch of the river where the banks appear rather steep, probably the reason why the road doesn’t pass there. But this would also ensure that the site is pristine and the trees have not been felled. At the exact location, the river veers to the east, and the terrain is slightly flat around the bend on the north side (From the relief map). I suspect that that is where the trees are. You can clearly see on Google Earth the areas that have not been logged, as they are deep green. So maybe you can walk up the river (maybe there’s a small trail), or if the current is not too strong you could possibly paddle upstream in a canoe (not quite sure how heavy and cumbersome the equipment is…you know more than I). So it’s not right next to the road, but however stupid some here may think the dendros are, I guess that if you’re looking for 600 year old trees, you have to expect them to be a bit remote, and that the latte grande may be cold when you get there.

    Didn’t receive the data from Barbara yet. I know that she said that she couldn’t find them on her computer and that she would look for them. I hope they’re not lost!

    • Reference
      Posted Sep 26, 2008 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: Francois Ouellette (#215),
      Bonjour Francois,

      May I try and help you?
      Google Maps has what are euphemistically called “features” by some IT professionals. One feature is the poor back calculation report you noticed earlier (and I’m sure by now you will have resolved). Starting with for example an input location of 48 30’N 64 30’W transformed into decimal degrees of 48.5,-64.5 the Google Maps output confirmation report in degrees minutes seconds replies:
      +48° 29′ 60.00″, -64° 29′ 60.00″

      Clearly the back calculation report fails to correctly compute whole number minutes and instead reports back one minute less followed by 60.00 seconds of arc. The location is correct, but the confirmation report, by including examples of 60.00 seconds of arc, is irritatingly misleading.

      Finding a work flow to establish the parameters of an observed chosen location in Google Maps does not seem to be straight forward. There are bound to be experts out there who can advise us, but in the interim the following procedure might help you:-

      Starting with the map centred at Point A, (any known location in your area of interest e.g. 48.5,-64.5), move the cursor hand to an off road location whose position you wish to measure (zoom out if necessary).
      At the new location, press mouse button 2 (right-click on map) to obtain the hidden menu.
      N.B. It is critically important that you do not rest on a road, as the location search process, by default, will then report back with the road name and not give you a Lat/Long position (another feature).
      Choose option “Directions to here”. The system will now report this new location as point B and reply only with a decimal degrees parameter for B (another feature).
      You can confirm the B location by using cut and paste to place these new decimal values into the Search Maps primary input box and activate them to produce a new point A.
      This activation will centre the Google Map at the old point B, confirm your choice, and provide the benefit of an output location report for B in degrees minutes seconds.

      Bonne chance

  142. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 27, 2008 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    I looked at some articles on eastern hemlock because that was what Cook was studying when he went to Gaspe. Growth release in one Pennsylvania stand was attributed to a 1976 tornado.

    bender, BTW, from the sort of pictures that we’ve seen of the Ste Anne headwaters, would it not be fair to say that it’s 99.9% likely that we’re dealing with “closed” canopy here. Cook’s entire dendro enterprise of the 1970s and 1980s was an attempt to apply Arizona style chronologies to eastern closed canopy – with lots of worrying about growth release effects. The earlier work used shortish splines to create chronologies, which then led to the “segment length curse” i.e. you could not extract centennial variation if you standardized with short splines. But the conditions for Arizona negative exponential standardization would hardly carry forward to an eastern closed canopy cedar stand.

    Another point. From what we surmise right now of the Ste Anne river stand, I also don’t see that why the Ste Anne river headwaters would be measuring a different climate than the Ile d’Orleans stand, which was sort of where we started the present thread. It looks a little higher, but not enough to “matter”. It’s not like an Arizona stratification where you have a lower treeline and an upper treeline and a strong precipitation gradient. Other things might matter, but I can’t see any a priori reason why the Ste Anne River site is a magic site.

    IF we were talking about treeline spruce in Gaspe, we might have a different story. You’d think that someone would have taken a spruce chronology, wouldn’t you?

    • bender
      Posted Sep 27, 2008 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#222),
      Yes, they were clearly sampling closed stands. Which is a big problem for release spikes.
      Yes, this climate would not be too much different from Ile d’Orleans. A couple of degrees cooler is all.
      Steve, there is no way in hell Mann should be using that series as a “temperature proxy”.

  143. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 28, 2008 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Bender and Steve, I agree about the closed stands. Definitely not treeline anyway. But why 1830? It seems to me that the anomalous peak starts in 1930. I think the sawfly epidemics would then make sense. Then you would find a similar peak in other old cedars from Gaspesia, e.g. those of Barbara Hébert (that I still don’t have). The epidemics was all across Gaspesia.

    Question for Steve: what data exactly do you use to plot the graph of the Jacoby Gaspe? The ITRDB has many series, that are the same data treated in various fashion. Can you please link to the exact one? TIA

  144. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 28, 2008 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    The HS Jacoby is cana036.crn. THe “updated” Jacoby is a digitization of a graphic emailed to me. I’ll upload the digitization if you want.

  145. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 28, 2008 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    #225 Thanks, I’ve got the series here now. It looks like the “update” does not have the anomalous growth starting in 1971, and that what is left is the surge between ca 1938 and 1968, interestingly the time it would take for balsam fir to grow to maturity, if it replaced dead spruce.

    I’ve compared the gaspe and Dagneau series, and they are pretty well correlated up to the 1938 surge. They also both show a spike in 1958 that maybe we can correlate with some anomalous weather. I’m trying to download data from Environment Canada to try and correlate with nearby stations. Keep posted!

  146. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 28, 2008 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    Another quick question: how many studies (and which ones) used the Gaspe series for millenial reconstruction?

    As far as I can see, no one has published a study showing good correlation between the Gaspe cedars and temperature. Why would one then use such a series to reconstruct temperature? (I guess I know the answer…).

  147. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    O.K. I’ve been browsing through past posts on the Gaspe series. I found this excuse by Jacoby about how the location was lost:

    From: Gordon Jacoby
    Subject: Re: Gaspé data

    To those concerned:

    The “Gaspé” tree-ring data are in the International Tree-Ring Data Base and can be accessed there. The actual site name is St Anne River and the associated name is Edward Cook. The record extends up to 1983. There was an attempt to update this record but the original site was not located. The original sampling was prior to GPS locating. Therefore there is no newer data for this particular site. If we implied this is any published paper, we mispoke. In updating chronologies one must revisit the exact site and trees.

    Best regards, Gordon Jacoby

    Now going through my old boxes of maps, I found topographic maps that I used on our hiking trips in the late 70’s. The one I have here is 31 P/2, published in 1975, at a scale of 1/50,000, that I used in 1978. The map even gives you detailed instructions on how to locate your position to within 100m. I did a quick check with Google Earth to compare a given location on the map with the same obtained with GE, and it’s bang on.

    There is NO WAY that the lack of GPS would have stopped them from reporting the correct location. There is NO WAY that you would not know precisely where you are using those commonly available maps. It just doesn’t make any sense! I mean, you don’t report a location by just making it up! If a simple hiker could know to within a second his position on a map in 1978, why would a professional dendrochronologist not be able to do the same in 1982?

    Maybe, just maybe, there was a mistake in reporting the location. But that would be a simple mistake, like giving 48 45N instead of 48 35N or something similar. But then there must be a trace somewhere! Someone actually was physically there. Were they all drunk or what?

  148. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Of course the excuse was false but they just stonewall.

  149. bender
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    If you lack the metadata required for update, then you can not use it as a proxy for any study that is designed to inform global policy. That is a pretty simple and reasonable rule, I think.

  150. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    In January 2004, I wrote to Rosanne D’Arrigo about Gaspe as follows:

    Rosanne, Is there a minimum number that you usually wait to before starting a chronology…or does the minimum vary with the site? Is there an absolute minimum that you would be inclined not to go below?

    I’ve travelled to Gaspe and I was rather surprised to see it included in your list of “treeline” sites in your 1989 article. Gaspe is 95% forest covered and has an active forestry industry. This seems a lot different than your sites further north.
    Regards, Steve

    On Jan 9/2004, she replied:

    hi Steve –
    it is somewhat differentin location but its low-frequency trends and the way it fits in with the other chronologies in our data set led us to infer that it was integrating a large-scale temperature signal.
    cheers,
    Rosanne

    • bender
      Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#231),
      She is wrong.
      1. Gaspé is very different in location from the other chronologies.
      2. The HS does not occur in other cedar chronologies and is proof of divergence, not cohernence.
      3. There is no proof that the alternative hypothesis is wrong – that secular-scale precipitation trends are not coherent over large distances. They may be.

  151. Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    …the way it fits in with the other chronologies in our data set led us to infer that it was integrating a large-scale temperature signal.

    In other words, it fitted with what we already believed to be true. So its a valid proxy.

    • bender
      Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

      Re: John A (#233),
      Yes, that kind of confirmation bias is a huge danger in this business.

  152. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    More questions:

    1) Where can I find temperature and precipitation data for the area? I’ve looked at Environment Canada data, but am having trouble retrieving anything useful. Surely some experts here can help.

    2) Steve: what does it take to take core samples? I’m really tempted to go over there and take a look by myself. It’s still not too late and the hike by the river must be nice at this time of year. Even if I don’t take samples, taking pictures would be a good start. I am personnally convinced that the trees are exactly where they said they were. They just don’t want anyone else to go.

  153. MrPete
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    1) Of course they could have marked sites on maps. Good topo maps go back more than a hundred years in much of North America. Early dendro sampling was not for climate but for chronology. Later resampling was not a consideration. Loose metadata collection was quite common… apparently still is.

    2) What’s it take to take core samples?

    a) Get a permit
    b) Learn something about metadata
    c) Learn something about sampling (depending on the trees to be sampled, we may have more helpful hints than what you will find in the published literature.)
    d) Get or borrow a good GPS [the local REI was happy to loan me one!]
    e) Borrow an increment borer and associated paraphernalia from a friendly local university
    f) Bring a camera with lots of batteries and digicam cards. Wide Angle Lens is a good thing.
    g) Bring someone who understands biology
    h) Enjoy!

    If you will be taking pictures rather than samples, you can skip a, e and maybe c.

  154. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 29, 2008 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    236. The increment borers are really light. The core itself fits into large straws. I have some special straws from Guelph that I could send. A sharp corer makes a lot of difference.

  155. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 2, 2008 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    I’ve just received Barbara Hébert’s data. I just want to say that I do not intend to make them public here, or to distribute them without having some sort of permission. For the moment, I’ll try to figure out how to process them in the standard way, and see what I get. I would like to try modelling the combined effect of temperature and precipitation (the way I’ve seen in the Archambault and Bergeron paper), and do the same with the Cook data. For that I need temperature and precipitation data and so far, I find this a bit complicated, as station records are not continuous in the area.

    I repeat here my call for good source of temperature and precipitation data. What I have from Environment Canada is very comprehensive, but rather difficult to sort out.

  156. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 2, 2008 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    #238. Why not use CRU temperature and precipitaiton data? That’s the main data set used in IPCC and the one that is relevant for valuation.

  157. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 2, 2008 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Steve, CRU is very comprehensive, but I find it really hard to extract a simple time series of temperature or precipitation for one gridcell! I’m not sure I want to spend hours figuring out how to do this. So far I have not found any user-friendly tool for those data sets. Have you? Anyone here would have developed some tool for this?

    Steve:
    Yes. I think that I have these tools online, but, if not, will post.

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