Fossilized tree rings

Climate Change

PRI audio player

Trees store information about climatic conditions in the rings they lay down each year. Dendrochronology — the science of studying these rings — allows scientists to learn about the ancient climate on Earth.

Player utilities

Read the full story at

Each tree ring represents a year in the life of the tree. The youngest rings are the outer ones, closest to the bark. This bald cypress is estimated to have been about 700 years old when it was fossilized.


James St. John, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences/Flickr

Related Content


We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. To learn more, review our Cookie Policy. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies and Privacy Policy.

Ok, I understand. Close

The story you just read is freely available and accessible to everyone because readers like you support The World financially. 

Thank you all for helping us reach our goal of 1,000 donors. We couldn’t have done it without your support. Your donation directly supported the critical reporting you rely on, the consistent reporting you believe in, and the deep reporting you want to ensure survives. 

DONATE TODAY > No thanks