Analysis of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) Tree Ring and Climate Records of Assateague Island and Chincoteague Bay Region, Virginia

Margaret Dunkelberge
Faculty sponsors: Dr. Sean Cornell and Dr. Heather Sahli
College of Arts and Sciences

Geoenvironmental Studies

This study documents daily weather records (temperature, precipitation) for Assateague Island for 50+ years and compares these to tree ring records from this barrier island and neighboring areas. Instrumental records up to 2018 show trends toward: 1) warmer climate conditions for low and average temperatures, 2) decreasing snowfall rates, and 3) increasing rainfall. With warmer wetter conditions, annual tree growth histories should, hypothetically, show increased growth rates, however, tree growth rates are declining suggesting tree health is increasingly impaired in living forests irrespective of more optimum conditions for tree growth.