Ring widths from five Picea glauca stands at the alpine treeline in northwestern Canada are used to investigate climate-growth responses and to develop a long reconstruction of summer temperatures. Response function and linear regression analyses indicate that the radial growth response of these trees to climate varies with age and site. At most sites, the period of significant positive response to growing season temperatures declines with tree age. Age-dependent and standard (age independent) models are then used to develop two reconstructions of June-July temperatures for northwestern Canada extending back to A.D. 1638. Calibration statistics were similar for both models, but the standard model performed poorly during verification. The reconstruction produced using age-dependent modeling suggests June-July temperatures were cooler than present throughout most of the past 350 years, with the exception of the late 18th century. Particularly cool periods occurred at ∼1700 and in the mid-19th century. In constast, the standard model suggests that temperatures were similar to or warmer than present during the last 350 years. The age-dependent reconstruction compares favorably with other proxy climate records from northern North America. Age-dependent dendroclimatic modeling can provide a sensitive record of recent climatic change that allows the inclusion of previously rejected sites into dendroclimatic analyses. © 1995 by the University of Washington.
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