Drought duration and frequency in the U.S. Corn Belt during the last millennium (AD 992–2004)
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
We describe methods and progress in developing the American Long Oak Chronology (ALOC), an effort to construct an oak tree-ring chronology from the Central US that spans the Holocene. Since 2000, we have collected and measured ring widths on over 550 pieces of subfossil oak (Quercus) wood. Over 330 oak samples have been radiocarbon dated, with ages ranging up to 14,000 cal yr B.P. A 1,093- year-long tree-ring record has been constructed from live and subfossil bur oaks (Q. macrocarpa Michx.) and swamp white oaks (Q. bicolor Willd.) growing along and buried in sediments of streams that flow through northern Missouri and southern Iowa, USA. Here we describe the ALOC for the period A.D. 912–2004 to demonstrate its dendrochronological value, display the material quality, and emphasize the importance of chronology construction. We also report on progress in developing older floating chronologies. The development of more long, multi-millennium chronologies will be an important contribution to dendroclimatology. These chronologies will be particularly useful to the Central US, a region with a continental climate and limited temporal depth of annually resolved paleorecords. Perhaps more critical is its location in the middle of one of the most important agricultural regions in the world.