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Decoding tree rings

By , 15 December 2021

Diagram showing cross section of tree including first year growth, rainy season, dry season, scar from forest fire; spring/early summer growth, late summer/fall growth

Image: NASA Climate Kids

By Celia Berrell

Cutting through tree trunks
from bark to bark,
we’ll see lots of circles
in light wood and dark.

Light-coloured bands
mostly grow summer–spring
while autumn to winter
grows thin, darker rings.

Tree rings grow wide
when it’s wetter and hot,
but tend to grow narrow
whenever it’s not.

Decoding these bands
in an ancient tree
can tell us the climate

This poem first appeared in Double Helix magazine. If you’re after more science news for kids, subscribe today!

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