Something positive about hurricanes?


On Tuesday evening, May 10, 350 Pensacola continues its programs to help inform the public about climate science. Dr. Jason Ortegren will share his research documenting how hurricanes striking the southeastern U.S. have historically had the beneficial effect of ending droughts plaguing the region. He will also discuss how the growth rings of living and preserved trees offer a view into our past climate, and how climate change is affecting these drought-busting tropical systems today and into the future.

The program begins at 7 p.m. sharp at at the Bayview Senior Center, 2000 E. Lloyd St., Pensacola, 32503.

Dr. Jason Ortegren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UWF. He earned his graduate degrees in Geography at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research interests include hydroclimatology, water resources, and dendrochronology.

For more information: 850-687-9968 or

What is dendrochronology? (from the Cornell Tree Ring Lab)

Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating has been available as a recognized scientific technique since the early 1900s. Simply stated, trees in temperate zones (and some in tropical zones) grow one visible ring per calendrical year.

For the entire period of a tree’s life, a year-by-year record or ring pattern is formed that in some way reflects the climatic and environmental conditions in which the tree grew. These patterns can be compared and matched ring for ring with trees growing in the same geographical zone and under similar climatic conditions.

Following these tree-ring patterns, the sum of which we refer to as chronologies, from living trees back through time, we can thus compare wood from old or ancient structures to our known chronologies, match the ring patterns (a technique we call cross-dating), and determine precisely the age of the wood used by the ancient builder.

UWF Tree Ring Analysis & Interpretation Lab (T.R.A.I.L.)

The TRAIL is located in Building 13, Rooms 322 and 324. The lab is fully equipped for cutting-edge dendrochronological research, from field data collection to sample preparation to measurement and analysis. Co-Directed by Dr. Jason Ortegren and Dr. John Waldron, ongoing research projects in the TRAIL have diverse focal points, including forest ecology and succession, plant response to environmental change, and paleoclimatic reconstruction. The TRAIL also houses a video-microscopy system, ideal for demonstrating details of laboratory and analytical techniques in tree-ring science to groups of students.

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