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Am Nat. 1993 Feb;141(2):173-98. doi: 10.1086/285468.

Can the solar cycle and climate synchronize the snowshoe hare cycle in Canada? Evidence from tree rings and ice cores.


Dark marks in the rings of white spruce less than 50 yr old in Yukon, Canada, are correlated with the number of stems browsed by snowshoe hares. The frequency of these marks is positively correlated with the density of hares in the same region. The frequency of marks in trees germinating between 1751 and 1983 is positively correlated with the hare fur records of the Hudson Bay Company. Both tree marks and hare numbers are correlated with sunspot numbers, and there is a 10-yr periodicity in the correlograms. Phase analysis shows that tree marks and sunspot numbers have periods of nearly constant phase difference during the years 1751-1787, 1838-1870, and 1948 to the present, and these periods coincide with those of high sunspot maxima. The nearly constant phase relations between the annual net snow accumulation on Mount Logan and (1) tree mark ratios, (2) hare fur records before about 1895, and (3) sunspot number during periods of high amplitude in the cycles suggest there is a solar cycle-climate-hare population and tree mark link. We suggest four ways of testing this hypothesis.

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