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Isotopic tree thermometers


Evidence is summarised here that trees store a record of atmospheric temperature in their rings. In each ring, the ratios of the stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen vary with the air temperature prevailing when the ring was formed. We have shown that the temperature records in three modern trees seem to follow the local mercury thermometer records, and have found that a Japanese cedar indicates a temperature fall of 1.5°C in the past 1,800 yr.

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Libby, L., Pandolfi, L., Payton, P. et al. Isotopic tree thermometers. Nature 261, 284–288 (1976).

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