University Of Tasmania
154619 - Ring width and blue light.pdf (12.04 MB)

Ring-width and blue-light chronologies of Podocarpus lawrencei from southeastern mainland Australia reveal a regional climate signal

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:24 authored by OConnor, JA, Henley, BJ, Brookhouse, MT, Kathryn AllenKathryn Allen
High-resolution palaeoclimate proxies are fundamental to our understanding of the diverse climatic history of the Australian mainland, particularly given the deficiency in instrumental datasets spanning more than a century. Annually resolved, tree-ring-based proxies play a unique role in addressing limitations in our knowledge of interannual to multi-decadal temperature and hydroclimatic variability prior to the instrumental period. Here we present cross-dated ring-width (RW) and minimum blue-intensity (BI) chronologies spanning 70 years (1929–1998) for Podocarpus lawrencei Hook.f., the Australian mainland's only alpine conifer, based on nine full-disc cross-sections from Mount Loch in the Victorian Alps. Correlations with climate variables from observation stations and gridded data across the 1929–1998 period reveal a significant positive relationship between RW and mean monthly maximum temperatures in winter throughout central Victoria (r=0.62, p<0.001) and a significant negative correlation to winter precipitation (r=-0.51, p<0.001). We also found significant negative correlations between RW and monthly snow depth at Spencer Creek in New South Wales (r=-0.60, p<0.001). Of the assessed BI parameters, delta blue intensity (ΔBI; the difference between early- and late-wood BI) displayed the greatest sensitivity to climate, with robust spatial correlations with mean October to December maximum and minimum monthly temperatures (r=-0.43, p<0.001; r=-0.51, p<0.001) and July precipitation (r=0.44, p<0.001), across large areas of northern Victoria. These promising findings highlight the utility of this species for future work. With the very limited availability of suitable long-lived and cross-datable species on the Australian mainland, these results have significant implications for advancing high-resolution palaeoclimate science in southeastern Australia and for improving our understanding of past climate in the region.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Climate of the Past










School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Copernicus GmbH

Place of publication


Rights statement

© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License,

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Climate variability (excl. social impacts); Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences