δD and δ13C analyses of cellulose nitrate from two modern Irish oak trees that form part of the 7400 year long chronology were carried out, covering a period of 123 years (1861–1983 A.D.) with a 5 year resolution so as to assess the potential of this long chronology for retrieval of palaeoenvironmental data. One of the trees (Q5293) showed significant correlations of δD, δ13 C and ring width with mean annual temperatures as recorded at the Armagh weather station nearby and the mean fall temperatures of Central England. The other tree (Q5296) did not exhibit any significant climatic correlations either because it grew utilizing a nearby permanent source of ground water or because the intra-ring isotopic variations in Irish oak are significant enough to mask the climatic signal. Whilst our results have given a positive indication of the usefulness of these trees for palaeoenvironmental information, more trees need to be analysed to confirm our findings.
Even though one of the trees did not exhibit climatic correlations, both trees show a significant positive correlation of δ13C and a negative correlation of δD with ring width variations. Furthermore, two tree samples that grew during the 1620s B.C., when a volcano is thought to have erupted on the Aegean island of Santorini, show increased δD and decreased δ13C for one to two decades following the eruption, though the magnitudes of change seem to vary with site and trees. We have proposed a possible mechanism based on tree phenology to explain both the above effects.
Volume 130, 2021
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