Tree Rings Provide a 200-Year-Old Hurricane Record
Information extends analyses of weather cycles, human impact
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.
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