Minutes of the January 23, 2006 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter


Everyone met around 6:15 p.m. for dinner at Barley's Taproom in the Old City of Knoxville. After dinner, the meeting commenced at the Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Science Building on the U.T. Ag Campus. Our guest speaker was Dana Miller (Oak Ridge National Laboratories) who spoke about "The Wind, the Rain, and the Trees - Hurricane Histories from 18O in Tree Rings". The following was a synopsis of her talk: "In light of the recent hurricane season, it is clear we need a larger alphabet. We could also use a better understanding of tropical cyclone activity and the climate factors affecting this activity, frequency and intensity. Paleoclimate reconstruction using geological proxies is fundamental for understanding climate change on time scales beyond the instrumental record. Long term records of weather expressions like tropical cyclone activity can provide information about long-term forcing factors that govern such weather variations. Tree rings preserve uniquely high resolution and precisely dated records of environmental influences. Oxygen isotope compositions of tree-ring cellulose primarily reflect source water, which carries a clear isotopic signal of tropical cyclone activity. This study presents a 220-year record of oxygen isotope compositions of alpha cellulose in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) tree rings of the southeastern U.S. that preserves evidence of past tropical cyclone activity and suggests the potential for a detailed record of tropical cyclone occurrence extending back many centuries. Newly recognized tropical cyclones (e.g., 1857 event) and first evidence for impact of the Great Hurricanes of 1780 on the southeastern US are also captured."




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