Tree ring records provide great insight into past climate variability with annual resolution and on local to continental and hemispheric scale. Especially, tree rings collected from high elevations show great potential in reconstructing temperature over many centuries. These records also play an important role in validating Global Climate Models that simulate climate change of the 21st century.
In dendroclimatology we combine precisely dated tree rings with directly measured meteorological data via statistical models to study and reconstruct short- to long-term climate variability including temperature, precipitation, drought, or even large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns. For that tree rings from living trees are often combined with archaeological or fossil wood to composite chronologies reaching many centuries or even several millennia back in time. Most frequently used tree-ring parameters are ring width, maximum latewood density and stable isotope ratios. Just recently novel measures such as blue reflectance or wood anatomical data raise increasing attraction.
In this course you will learn about the most important methods in dendroclimatology. This will include appropriate site selection and sampling, cross-dating, tree-ring width measurements, data quality control, multiple detrending procedures, construction of a robust chronology, selection of and calibration with meteo-data, test of the signal strength over time and space, calibration/verification tests, application of statistical models for reconstruction of the climatic signal back in time, and comparison with independent data (e.g. existing chronologies from the region, but potentially also data from the blue reflectance and dendroarcheology groups). You will get in touch with standard software such as COFECHA, ARSTAN, the KNMI Climate Explorer and also dendroclimatic R packages (like dplr).