Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using leaves' characteristics improves accuracy measuring past climates

Date:
April 19, 2011
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
Geologists have shown that a new method that uses different size and shape traits of leaves to reconstruct past climates over the last 120 million years is more accurate than other current methods.

A study led by Baylor University and Wesleyan University geologists shows that a new method that uses different size and shape traits of leaves to reconstruct past climates over the last 120 million years is more accurate than other current methods.

The study appeared in the April issue of the journal New Phytologist and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

"Paleobotanists have long used models based on leaf size and shape to reconstruct ancient climates," said Dr. Daniel Peppe, assistant professor of geology at Baylor, College of Arts and Sciences, who is an expert in paleomagnetism, paleobotany and paleoclimatology. "However most of these models use just a single variable or variables that are not directly linked to climate, which obviously limits the models' predictive power. For that reason, they models often underestimate ancient temperatures."

Baylor geology researchers, along with 26 other co-authors from universities around the world, collected thousands of leaves from many different species of plants from 92 climatically-different and plant-diverse locations on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Multiple linear regression models for mean annual temperature and mean annual precipitation were developed and then applied to nine well-studied fossil floras.

The results showed:

  • Leaves in cold climates typically have larger, more numerous teeth, and are more dissected. Leaves in wet climates are larger and have fewer, smaller teeth.
  • Leaf habit (deciduous vs. evergreen), local water availability and phylogenetic history all affect the relationships between climate and leaf size and shape.
  • The researchers' multivariate mean annual temperature and mean annual precipitation models offer strong improvements in accuracy and precision over single variable approaches. For example, the mean annual temperature estimates for most of North American fossil floras were considerably warmer and wetter and in better agreement with independent paleoclimate evidence. This suggests that these new models offer the potential to provide climate estimates that will help scientists better understand ancient climates.

"Our study demonstrates that the inclusion of additional leaf traits that are functionally linked to climate improves paleoclimate reconstructions," Peppe said. "This will help us to better reconstruct past climates and ecosystems, which will allow us to study how ecosystems respond to climate change and variations in climate on local, regional and global scales."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel J. Peppe, Dana L. Royer, Bαrbara Cariglino, Sofia Y. Oliver, Sharon Newman, Elias Leight, Grisha Enikolopov, Margo Fernandez-Burgos, Fabiany Herrera, Jonathan M. Adams, Edwin Correa, Ellen D. Currano, J. Mark Erickson, Luis Felipe Hinojosa, John W. Hoganson, Ari Iglesias, Carlos A. Jaramillo, Kirk R. Johnson, Gregory J. Jordan, Nathan J. B. Kraft, Elizabeth C. Lovelock, Christopher H. Lusk, άlo Niinemets, Josep Peρuelas, Gillian Rapson, Scott L. Wing, Ian J. Wright. Sensitivity of leaf size and shape to climate: global patterns and paleoclimatic applications. New Phytologist, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03615.x

Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Using leaves' characteristics improves accuracy measuring past climates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418152336.htm>.
Baylor University. (2011, April 19). Using leaves' characteristics improves accuracy measuring past climates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418152336.htm
Baylor University. "Using leaves' characteristics improves accuracy measuring past climates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418152336.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) — Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins