Tree-ring temperature reconstructions for the northeastern United States from Chamaecyparis thyoides

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Kevin J Anchukaitis1, Neil Pederson2, Jessie K Pearl1 and Jeffrey P Donnelly3, (1)Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (2)Lamont -Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States, (3)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Over the last century, the northeastern United States has warmed by over 1C, with the region of strongest warming found in coastal Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. These states are amongst the fastest warming in the entire country and the region as a whole is also warming faster than the national average. While these records all appear exceptional in the context of the last century, it is not known how these compare on longer time scales, to potential preindustrial late Holocene warm epochs, and in the context of decadal-scale variability in regional climate. Here, we develop a January through August temperature reconstruction using three Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic White Cedar) chronologies in Massachusetts and Maine. The chronologies show a strong winter-spring-summer temperature signal representative of temperature variability from southern New York to northeastern Maine. The reconstruction is skillful and tracks upwards temperature trends since the early 19th century, reproducing decadal scale variability associated with warming from the 1920s through 1940s, cooling in the region from the 1940s until the 1960s, and warming since that time. No year since at least the middle of the 19th century is as warm as the Janaury through August temperatures seen in the exceptionally warm 2012. Recent modeling experiments simulate a range of decadal warming trends for the northeastern United States that is slightly higher than the reconstructed and instrumental trends. Atlantic White Cedar holds the potential to develop multicentury temperature reconstructions from this heavily-populated region.