Skip to main content
Email Print Share


News Release 06-131

Tree Rings Provide a 200-Year-Old Hurricane Record

Information extends analyses of weather cycles, human impact

Oxygen isotopes in tree-rings can record hurricane activity up to 400 years ago.


Oxygen isotopes in tree-rings can record hurricane activity up to 400 years ago.
Credit and Larger Version


September 19, 2006

Scientists have shown that an age-old "database"--tree rings--contains surprisingly accurate information about hurricane activity that occurred hundreds of years ago. By measuring different chemical forms of oxygen present in the rings, researchers identified periods when hurricanes hit areas of the Southeast more than 100 years before modern records were kept.

The technique allows scientists to extend from decades to centuries the time-frames of intense hurricane cycles and may help determine if the increase in the number of hurricanes hitting the Southeast since the mid-1990s is part of a regularly occurring cycle or due to causes such as global climate change.

Their research is being published in the Sept. 18, early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the University of Tennessee (UT).

To read the UT news release, go to http://www.tennessee.edu/news/article.php?id=3833.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Jay Mayfield, University of Tennessee, (865) 974-2225, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu
Leslie Fink, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-5395, lfink@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Claudia Mora, University of Tennessee, (865) 974-2366, cmora@utk.edu

Co-Investigators
Henri Grissino-Mayer, University of Tennessee, (865) 974-6029, grissino@utk.edu

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: https://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: https://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: https://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/