By: Amanda James | November-3-2010 |
The tree rings of the Australian snow gum are revealing secrets of our climate past.
TREE RINGS OF THE snow gum are being used to build an Australian climate record that stretches back 500 years. By creating a timeline of climate history using these rings - a practice known as dendroclimatology - scientists hope to provide information for policy-makers that can influence decisions about infrastructure and water supplies.
"It's ironic how the snowy gum [Eucalyptus pauciflora] tree doesn't like snow," says Dr Matthew Brookhouse, spearheading the study at the Australian National University in Canberra. For that reason, he says, the tree is ideal for observing growth and seasonal change. "Tree rings are typically not very clear in Australia, but they are clear at the alpine tree line in the snowy gum because the trees are so sensitive to the temperature."