Research at Mt. Smolikas

Every year a group of #dendroclimatologists from the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in cooperation with NEO are conducting an excursion to Mount Smolikas in the Pindos Mountains in Northern Greece.


Mt. Smolikas hosts one of Europe’s oldest living inhabitants, long-lived #BosnianPines (Pinus heldreichii) that reach ages of more than 1000 years. The upper treeline ecotone at about 2000-2200 m a.s.l. is one of the rare Mediterranean locations where past climatic conditions can be studied with high resolution, as climate strongly influences the formation of annual growth rings. The old, endemic pine trees can therefore be used to gain insights into temperature and precipitation variations back into the first millennia, far beyond instrumental observations.


German scientists now revisited Mt. Smolikas in September 2021 to collect new wood samples and update previously established tree-ring records. During the field campaign, which was led by Prof. Frank Keppler, more than 50 trees were sampled and will now be processed in the two German laboratories.


By measuring stable isotopes and anatomical features of the wood, the scientists hope to improve uncertainty estimates of local and regional climate reconstructions. Thus, the new tree-ring data from Mt. Smolikas is of great importance to not only investigate local climatic changes, but also to place the recent environmental situation of the eastern Mediterranean region into a long-term context.



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