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Combine the tree ring growth record with historic information, climate records and computer model projections of future climate trends, and it paints a grim picture for the future of trees in the southwestern United States.
That’s the word from a team of scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Arizona and several other partner organizations.
Described in a paper published in Nature Climage Change. “Temperature as a potent driver of regional forest drought stress and tree mortality,” the team concluded that in the warmer and drier Southwest of the near future, widespread tree mortality will cause forest and species distributions to change substantially.
The researchers aligned about 13,000 tree core samples with known temperature and moisture data, further blending in known historic events such as documented mega droughts that drove the ancient pueblo indians out of longtime settlements such as Mesa Verde, Colo.
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