Mongolian Tree Rings and 20th-Century Warming

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Science  09 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5276, pp. 771-773
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5276.771


A 450-year tree-ring width chronology of Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica Du Tour) growing at timberline (2450 meters) in the Tarvagatay Mountains in west central Mongolia shows wide annual growth rings for the recent century. Ecological site observations and comparisons with instrumental temperature records indicate that the ring widths of these trees are sensitive to annual temperature variations. Low-frequency variations in the Tarvagatay tree-ring record are similar to those in a reconstruction of Arctic annual temperatures, which is based on 20 tree-ring width series from northern North America, Scandinavia, and western Russia. The results indicate that recent warming is unusual relative to temperatures of the past 450 years.