tree rings Archives - State of the Planet

In Ancient Scottish Tree Rings, a Cautionary Tale on Climate, Politics and Survival

Using old tree rings and archival documents, historians and climate scientists have detailed an extreme cold period in Scotland in the 1690s that caused immense suffering. It may have lessons for Brexit-era politics.

by |December 17, 2019

Within Sight of New York City, an Old-Growth Forest Faces Storms and Sea Level Rise

On a peninsula within sight of New York City, researchers are studying trees dating as far back as the early 1800s. Rising seas and more powerful storms, both fueled by climate change, could eventually spell their end.

by |December 3, 2019

Photo Essay: An Old-Growth Forest Near New York City Faces Storms and Sea-Level Rise

Centuries-old trees on a peninsula near New York City could provide an important record of past storms. Researchers recently traveled there to sample the trees before they are wiped out by rising seas and powerful storms.

by |December 3, 2019

New Tree Ring Analysis Method May Open Insights to Past Climate

Measurements of stable isotopes in tree rings may expand the climate information that scientists can get from old trees.

by |February 28, 2019

Accounting for Volcanoes Using Tools of Economics

Climate scientists teamed up with an econometrics expert to develop an innovative new method for picking out past volcanic eruptions in temperature reconstructions going back millennia and gauging their impact on the climate.

Syria’s Drought Likely Its Most Severe in More than 900 Years

“If climate change is having an impact and is making droughts worse, then we should see this in the record over several centuries—and we do,” said the study’s author, Benjamin Cook.

by |March 1, 2016

Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2016 and Beyond

  On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards and ecology, and their practical applications to modern problems. Below, a list of expeditions in rough chronological order. Work in and around New York City and the U.S. Northeast is listed separately toward bottom. Unless otherwise stated, projects originate with… read more

by |February 2, 2016

A New Global Team Tracks Temperature Change Through Time

A new international consortium of scientists is bringing the history of temperature fluctuations across the entire Northern Hemisphere to life.

by |January 28, 2016
Scientists documented the first annual tree rings in a native species on Hawai'i in māmane found on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Photo: Scot Nelson/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Tree Rings on Hawai’i Could Hold New Knowledge About El Niño

Annual tree rings are a rare find in the tropical islands of the eastern Pacific. The new discovery of trees with annual rings on a Hawaiian volcano could provide new climate data from a part of the world where much of the variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation originates.

by |August 21, 2015

Learning from a River’s History to Prepare for the Future

Researchers from eight universities, including Columbia University, are using tree ring and glacier analysis to reconstruct the climate history of the Missouri River Basin in order to give policymakers and water managers better decision-making tools to manage the river.

by |August 17, 2015