The relationship between climate and the intra-annual oxygen isotope patterns from pine trees: a case study along an elevation gradient on Corsica, France

Document Type
Issue Date
Issue Year
Szymczak, Sonja
Bräuning, Achim
Häusser, Martin
Garel, Emilie
Huneau, Frédéric
Santoni, Sébastien

Key message Intra-annual oxygen isotope patterns of tree-ring cellulose from Pinus nigra subsp. laricio and Pinus pinaster along an elevation gradient can be divided into four distinct patterns ((1) high values in the beginning of the tree ring, declining trend afterwards; (2) low values in the beginning, increasing trend afterwards; (3) high values in the middle of the tree ring; (4) declining trend over the whole tree ring). These patterns reflect the dependency on local site conditions and different water sources.

Context Intra-annual oxygen isotope chronologies from tree-ring cellulose can serve as a proxy for past climate conditions at inter- or even intra-seasonal resolution.

Aims We explore the potential of these chronologies from pine trees (Pinus nigra J.F. Arn subsp. laricio (Poiret) Maire var Corsicana Hyl. and Pinus pinaster Aiton) growing on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, France, along an elevation gradient ranging from sea level to 1600 m asl.

Methods We developed high-resolution intra-annual oxygen isotope chronologies from tree-ring cellulose of eight trees from five sites along the elevation gradient. The analysis period covers the decade 2007–2016 for seven trees and the period 1987–2016 for one tree, respectively.

Results The chronologies show a high variability between trees, sites, and years. We identified four different intra-annual oxygen isotope patterns which reflect the dependency of tree growth on different water sources (precipitation during the growing season vs. deeper soil water reservoirs) and climate conditions during the growth season. Trees at coastal sites have access to groundwater, while trees growing in high elevations mostly depend on precipitation during the growth season as water source.

Conclusion The different patterns can be attributed to the use of different water sources. The intra-annual chronology covering 30 years indicates an increasing frequency of dry-warm summers after 2007.

Journal Title
Annals of Forest Science
Annals of Forest Science 76 (2019): 76. <>
Zugehörige ORCIDs