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Tree Story: What we can learn about climate and forest history from the rings in trees

Quantitative Biology Colloquium

Tree Story: What we can learn about climate and forest history from the rings in trees
Series: Quantitative Biology Colloquium
Location: MATH 402
Presenter: Valerie Trouet, What we can learn about climate and forest history from the rings in trees

Dendrochronology - the study of the rings in trees - allows us to reconstruct climate variability over the past ca. 2,000 years and to put current anthropogenic climate change in a long-term context. We can use tree rings to study past mean climate, but also climate extremes - such as drought, hurricanes, and wildfires - and climate dynamical patterns, such as the jet stream. In addition to this, dendrochronology sits at the nexus of climatology, ecology, and archeology and helps us to link climate history to forest history and human history.

 In my talk, I will present tree-ring based studies aimed at providing long-term records of (1) climate variability and (2) California wildfires. I will show how our century-long proxy records have improved our understanding of the interactions between the climate system, human systems, and ecosystems.

Bio:  Valerie Trouet is a Professor in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona. She received her PhD in Bioscience Engineering at the KULeuven in Belgium in 2004 and has worked at PennState University and at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL before moving to Tucson in 2011.  She is a dendrochronologist whose research focuses on past climate variability and how it has influenced human systems and ecosystems. She has published more than 80 scientific papers and is the author of Tree Story, a broad audience book about dendrochronology published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2020 that is translated in 7 languages. She leads the ‘Spatiotemporal Interactions between Climate and Ecosystems’ research group (trouetlab.arizona.edu), is a University of Arizona Distinguished Scholar, the laureate of the 2019 Willi Dansgaard award of the American Geophysical Union, and a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.