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Tree rings are one of the most important proxy data sources for reconstructing past climate variability. In order to understand climate variability, it is necessary to get a spatial and temporal coverage of climate information. Summer temperatures mainly influence tree growth at the altitudinal tree line, while at lower altitudes additional factors affect growth. In addition, the nature of soil where trees grow may affect growth response to climate. To decide climate as well as growth-substrate influences on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) growing below the tree line, two tree-ring width chronologies, sampled at dry mineral soil and wet peat soil in a mountain valley in the central Scandinavian Mountains, were analysed for climate responses and spectral signals. Temperatures during growth season (May–August) showed the strongest influence on tree growth at both sites. Influence of precipitation in the growing season was low, indicating sufficient amounts of available water during growth. However, at the dry-soil site the influence of late winter/early spring precipitation was significant. Strength of the climate–tree–growth relationship at the dry site was similar to that of trees growing at the present tree line, while weaker at the wet site. Both site chronologies exhibited common spectral peaks at c. 3.5 and 13 years indicating a common growth forcing at those time scales. The wet-site chronology displayed low-frequency variations with a 19-year periodicity, where growth peaks coincided with the lunar tidal maxima indicating a possible influence of lunar forcing. At the dry-site, multi-decadal fluctuations displayed a periodicity of 66 years. Both 13- and 66-year periods can be linked to variations in sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic Ocean, pointing to a maritime influence, on decadal scales, of pine growth in the area. These results suggest that Scots pine in this environment may be regarded as proxies of North Atlantic Ocean coupled climatic variability.
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden