Episode 2: What Trees Know about Drought

Oct 8, 2013

The trees in Utah's forests suck up water like sponges, and leave a record in their growth rings of when there was a lot of water in the region and when there was very little. Researchers are learning to decode the tree ring record and reconstruct what Utah's watersheds have been through over the past millennium. Today on the program, we bring you the story of how Utah's water past can help us plan for Utah's water future.

Researchers can reconstruct historic and pre-historic water flows of western rivers by looking at tree rings from specimens high up in the watershed. The patterns of wet and dry cycles are revealing and can help plan for resource management in the future.
Credit Jennifer Pemberton

Special thanks for help with this episode to Western Water Assessment, Wasatch Dendroclimatology Research Group (WADR), and the Utah Climate Center.

Additional Information:

Five Billion Gallons is a production of Utah Public Radio, supported by Penn State Public Media’s “Think Outside the Pipes” radio initiative.