Research Spotlight: Tree ring record chronicles major Mesoamerican droughts

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Abstract

[1] A new tree ring record chronicles major Mesoamerican droughts in the past millennium that may have contributed to the decline of some pre-Hispanic civilizations. Although there is other evidence of droughts during the past millennium, the paleoclimate record had gaps. Stahle et al. used core samples from Montezuma bald cypress trees found in Barranca de Amealco, Querétaro, Mexico, to develop a 1238-year tree ring chronology. They reconstructed the soil moisture record from the tree ring growth patterns. The new record provides the first dated, annually resolved climate record for Mexico and Central America spanning this time period.(Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL046472, 2011)

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