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The aim of dendroclimatology is to extract the climate signal in the annual rings of trees and use it to provide a proxy record of climate for times and places where the instrumental record is absent or inadequate. These proxy records are used to produce reconstructions of one or more climate variables in the time, frequency, and sometimes the spatial domains. Reconstructions from tree rings are of potential value in four main fields. First, they may be used to provide an extended climate data base to be used in the testing of models of climate. Second, they may provide a longer and more representative data base for the calculation of climate and climate-related statistics. Third, they may provide detailed descriptions of climate in distant periods which may be used as analogues of possible future changes in climate. Fourth, they may be used in the verification of other proxy records of climate, including historical (or documentary) data, for pre-instrumental times.
The bases of the methods currently available for the preparation and testing of climate reconstructions from tree rings have been discussed in Chapters 1 and 2 of this book, whilst the existing data base, and the potential for its improvement, has been described in Chapters 3 and 4. In order that the reader may see the potential of dendroclimatology, short accounts of a number of dendroclimatic reconstructions are brought together in this chapter.
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