Tree rings are fascinating and informative data, but the gazillions of formats used by different measurement and analysis programs can be a real pain in the ass.  Additionally, there are a plethora of reformatting programs that all do slightly different things.  Of course, many times none of them do exactly what you want.  I’ve often had to feed data through 2 or 3 programs and/or write my own formatting program to get it in a usable format.  Sometimes I feel like I spend more time dealing with formatting issues than actually analyzing our data.

If you aren’t having a problem with tree ring data formats, you should probably move on.  If you are, hopefully this will help.

This post is going to be about some common issues I’ve had with the formatting program YUX.  If you’re having trouble with COFECHA, try this.

Size problems

The first issue has to do with the size of the imported file.  If it’s larger than about 52kb, YUX will crash.

Also, you can’t include more than 200 series or 4096 years without causing YUX to crash.

Mixed up data problems

If you don’t insert a character for missing data, YUX won’t give you an error, but it will seriously fuck up your data.  Consider the YUX year by series output data for a set of six trees below.  What we expected was the output on the left; what we got was the output on the right.

Click to embiggen

I’ve color coded each tree and its rings so you can see what’s going on more easily.  Basically, YUX is sliding the tops of the series as far to the left as possible.  If the last year of growth for all of your trees isn’t the same, it’ll do the same at the end of the series.  We get around this in one of two ways: either we tell YUX to enter something (like NA) for the missing data (under option 3 in YUX), or we make sure the file we feed YUX is in order from longest to shortest series.  The latter solution only works when the last year of growth is the same for all trees and there are no gaps within a series.

If you need more help, I recommend searching or emailing the ITRDB Dendrochronology Forum.  They are remarkably helpful and very friendly in their answers to even the most basic of questions.