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Alison O’Donnell – WA Climate History from Tree Rings – Perth Branch

March 10, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm


The huge fires Australia has had this summer has arguably given climate change more attention than ever. The persistent hot and dry conditions have been a key factor in the scale of those fires, and climate change has had a role in that. But how much? Although both southwest and southeast Australia has seen substantial declines in winter rainfall over the last few decades, how do we know if that is just due to natural variation and not climate change? All of us should know – if we’ve been listening to the climate scientists – that climate change is a long-term phenomena. But how can we get a handle over what is just natural variation and what is man-made climate change, especially when we only have 100 years or so of accurate weather data? This is where we can learn from trees! Trees are powerful recorders of their environment and can live for hundreds to thousands of years. Most of us know that they produce growth rings, but those rings can also give us important insights into past climatic events.

To help us answer these questions, the Perth Branch of the Wildflower Society will be hosting a talk by Alison O’Donnell, from the University of WA, on an overview of tree-ring research in Australia, focussing on research that aims to better understand past climatic variability. Dr O’Donnell will introduce several tree-ring based climate reconstructions in Australia, and will talk about the implications of these studies for understanding climatic variability and recent climatic trends.

Our Perth Branch meeting will RETURN to the Subiaco Community Centre on Tuesday 10 March. Doors open at 7.45 pm and the meeting begins at 8 pm. The $3 door donation also gets you a light supper after the talk and entry into the night’s door prize. Entry is open to the general public, all are welcome.


Alison is a Research Fellow based in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Western Australia. She is an ecologist who has become fascinated by tree rings and the information they contain since being introduced to the world of dendrochronology during her PhD research. She’s particularly interested in using tree rings to answer questions about past climates and environments, including the history of droughts, floods and fires across Australia.


March 10, 2020
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:


Subiaco Community Centre