How tree rings help teach us about our climate

This article discusses how tree rings help teach us about our climate. There’s a lot we can learn about our climate history and future by studying tree rings.

Scientists studying annual growth rings of trees rarely get the glory that occasionally comes to archeologists who dig up ancient treasures. These dendrochronologists only infrequently get budgets the size of those awarded glaciologists, who drill miles-long cores of crystalline ice down into glaciers.

Let’s give these tree cognoscente their due. Take, for instance, David Stahle, director of the Tree Ring Laboratory of the University of Arkansas. Stahle dresses unpretentiously in leather boots, jeans and checked shirts. He keeps a pair of rimless reading glasses in a chest pocket, and dons them frequently for consulting a reference book or looking up an item on his computer.

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