Tree rings help scientists learn about past climates by decoding tree ring patterns. Use this interactive simulation to learn how tree ring patterns tell us about climate conditions in the past.

  • Click on Level 1 - Moisture in the interactive below to begin.
  • Use the Help button (with the "?" on it) in the lower left corner of each game level of the interactive to see instructions for that level.

Some Limitations of this Tree Ring Model

"All models are wrong... some models are useful." - George E.P. Box

  • Real tree ring cross-sections are not perfectly circular (and centered), or even symmetric, like the ones in this model.
  • Different types of trees have different responses in their growth rates to temperature and precipitation. Some thrive in warm conditions, while others grow quickly when it is especially wet.
  • Other variables (besides temperature and precipitation) influence growth rates of trees.
  • Real trees have a central section called the "pith"; this model starts right in with the first annual ring instead.