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In his Trattato della Pittura (Treatise on Painting), Leonardo da Vinci was the first person to mention that trees form rings annually and that their thickness is determined by the conditions under which they grew. S., Alexander Catlin Twining (1801–1884) suggested in 1833 that patterns among tree rings could be used to synchronize the dendrochronologies of various trees and thereby to reconstruct past climates across entire regions.

Diagram of secondary growth in a tree showing idealised vertical and horizontal sections.

A new layer of wood is added in each growing season, thickening the stem, existing branches and roots, to form a growth ring.

Horizontal cross sections cut through the trunk of a tree can reveal growth rings, also referred to as tree rings or annual rings.

For instance, missing rings are rare in oak and elm trees.

Critical to the science, trees from the same region tend to develop the same patterns of ring widths for a given period of chronological study.

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