October 2005 Meeting

Monday, October 3, 2005
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
Lamar Alexander Building
Room 223


Seasons of the Hurricanes: Conversations with Trees

Dana Miller
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee


In light of the recent hurricane seasons over the last few years, a greater understanding of tropical cyclone activity and the climate factors affecting it is essential for preparing for tomorrow and beyond. Paleoclimate reconstruction is a keystone for understanding current climate status and forward modeling of future climate expressions such as tropical cyclone activity and the behavior of large scale climate oscillations (e.g., Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and others). Geological proxies that extend the record of tropical cyclone activity prior to the twentieth century enable the detection of long-term trends in tropical cyclone occurrence and the possible forcing factors that govern such variations. Tree rings preserve uniquely high resolution and precisely dated records of environmental processes. Here we present a 220-year record of oxygen isotope compositions of alpha cellulose in slash and longleaf pine tree rings of the southeastern U.S. that preserves evidence of past tropical cyclone activity, seasonal droughts, and multidecadal climate oscillations and suggests the potential for a detailed record of tropical cyclone occurrence extending back many centuries.


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