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Tree-ring chronologies for mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) were used to reconstruct the
water level of Crater Lake, a high-elevation lake in the southern Cascade Range of Oregon.
Reconstructions indicate that lake level since the late 1980s has been lower than at any point in the last 300 years except the early 1930s to mid 1940s. Lake level was consistently higher during the Little Ice Age than during the late 20th century; during the late 17th century, lake level was up to 9 m higher than recent (1980s and 1990s) low levels, which is consistent with paleoclimalic reconstructions of regional precipitation and atmospheric pressure. Furthermore, instrumental data available for the 20th century suggest that there are strong teleconnections among atmospheric circulation (e.g., Pacific Decadal Oscillation), tree growth, and hydrology in southern Oregon. Crater Lake is sensitive to interannual, interdecadal and intercentenary variation in precipitation and atmospheric circulation, and can be expected to track both short-term and longterm variation in regional climatic patterns that may occur in the future.
Additional Publication Details
Detecting long-term hydrological patterns at Crater Lake, Oregon