“Droughts, Dzud, and Archeology in Mongolia: A Tree Ring Perspective” with Nicole Davi (Jan 2011)

by | Jul 28, 2023 | Tree Ring Studies

Originally presented 15 Jan 2011

Introduction to this Workshop

Here is a slide show that provides some background about studying tree rings:  ppt     pdf

Cutting-Edge Research

Human populations of developing nations around the globe are at exceptional risk from extreme climatic and environmental events. Perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in Mongolia, where largely nomadic native populations depend on livestock for their daily survival. In this remote, semi-arid country, there is substantial vulnerability to so-called “dzud” episodes – summer drought followed by severe winter-spring cold and excess snow conditions – that result in widespread livestock losses due to starvation and cold. During early 2010, nearly 20% of the herd perished (~10 million animals).

The TRL-LDEO’s research in Mongolia began in 1995, when project PIs became some of the first scientists to visit the country following the end of Russian occupation. Since then an extensive annually-resolved, exactly-dated tree-ring network, dating back nearly 2 millennia for temperature and up to ~500 years for drought, has been created. This network has allowed us to extend understanding of past temperature and hydroclimate variability well beyond the sparse meteorological record (beginning around the 1950s) and view recent climatic extremes from a long-term perspective.

Tree Ring Lab research

TRL Research in Mongolia

Here is Nicole Davi’s pdf slide show.

We are pleased to welcome back Dr.Nicole Davi. Nicole presented E2C Workshops in 2003 and 2005, as well as a variety of other presentations in conjunction with the annual Open House and special student/teacher visits. Nicole recently received her PhD, and is now a Postdoctoral Research Scientist.

Nicole’s web site

Classroom Resources

Selected tree-ring activities for the classroom:

“Learning from Tree Rings” by Diana Helene Frank (E2C participant) http://www.earth2class.org/k12/w5_s2005/Frank%20tree%20ring.php

The Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages

Dendrochronology for Educators”

“NOAA Paleoclimatology”

“NOVA: Building a Tree-Ring Timeline”

“NOVA Methusalah Tree activity”

“Tree-Ring Record of Wetland Changes”

“Lesson Plans pages: My Life as a Tree”

A related interesting story involving dendrochronology, Lamont research, and famous violins can be found at http://www.earth.columbia.edu/news/2003/story12-03-03.html

Climatic conditions in the late 17th-early 18th century revealed through the study of tree rings may have be critical to the tonal qualities of instruments created by Stradivarius and Amati in Cremona.

Other Resources for This Topic

Roman rise and fall ‘recorded in trees’

By Mark Kinver Science and environment reporter, BBC News

Tree growth rings (Image: Science Photo Library)

The study offers a link between changes to the climate and the rise and fall of human societies

Continue reading the main story

Related stories

An extensive study of tree growth rings says there could be a link between the rise and fall of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe’s climate.

Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory: http://dendrochronology.net/introduction.asp#

Integrating Educational Technologies

General suggestions: Integrating Educational Technologies into Your Classrooms

Your assignment:

1) What characteristics make Social Media, such as Twitter and Facebook, effective as a classroom teaching tool?

2) When should Social Media-based activities be used for full-class instruction, and when should they be used for small groups or individual projects?

3) Describe strategies to locate suitable  for your classes.


4) Design a lesson plan that incorporates at least one Social Media-based activity.

E2C Follow-up:

You may send your model lesson and other responses to this “assignment” to michael@earth2class.org. If suitable, we will post your work in the E2C lesson plans and/or add them to this section of the Workshop website.


Images from today’s workshop (to be posted soon)

Credit: Greg Hofer