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Reconstructing Past Ocean Salinity ((delta)18Owater)

Description: Temperature and salinity are two of the key properties of ocean water masses. The distribution of these two independent but related characteristics reflects the interplay of incoming solar radiation (insolation) and the uneven distribution of heat loss and gain by the ocean, with that of precipitation, evaporation, and the freezing and melting of ice. Temperature and salinity to a large extent, determine the density of a parcel of water. Small differences in temperature and salinity can increase or decrease the density of a water parcel, which can lead to convection. Once removed from the surface of the ocean where 'local' changes in temperature and salinity can occur, the water parcel retains its distinct relationship between (potential) temperature and salinity. We can take advantage of this 'conservative' behavior where changes only occur as a result of mixing processes, to track the movement of water in the deep ocean (Figure 1). The distribution of density in the ocean is directly related to horizontal pressure gradients and thus (geostrophic) ocean currents. During the Quaternary when we have had systematic growth and decay of large land based ice sheets, salinity has had to change. A quick scaling argument following that of Broecker and Peng [1982] is: the modern ocean has a mean salinity of 34.7 psu and is on average 3500m deep. During glacial maxima sea level was on the order of {approx}120m lower than present. Simply scaling the loss of freshwater (3-4%) requires an average increase in salinity a similar percentage or to {approx}35.9psu. Because much of the deep ocean is of similar temperature, small changes in salinity have a large impact on density, yielding a potentially different distribution of water masses and control of the density driven (thermohaline) ocean circulation. It is partly for this reason that reconstructions of past salinity are ...
Date: November 23, 2005
Creator: Guilderson, T. P. & Pak, D. K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Interpreting environmental signals from the coralline sponge Astrosclera willeyana

Description: Coralline sponges (sclerosponges) have been proposed as a new source for paleo subsurface temperature reconstructions by utilizing methods developed for reef-building corals. However unlike corals, coralline sponges do not have density variations making age determination difficult. In this study we examined multiple elemental rations (B, Mg, Sr, Ba, U) in the coralline sponge Astrosclera willeyana. We also measured skeletal density profiles along the outer ''living'' edge of the sponges and this data indicates significant thickening of skeletal material over intervals of 2-3 mm or 2-3 years. This suggests that any skeletal recovered environmental record from Astrosclera willeyana is an integration of signals over a 2-3 year period. Sponge Sr/Ca seemed to hold the most promise as a recorder of water temperature and we compared Sr/Ca from 2 sponges in the Great Barrier Reef and one from Truk in Micronesia to their respective sea surface temperature record. The correlations were not that strong ({approx} r=-0.5) but they were significant. It appears that the signal smoothing due to thickening or perhaps even some biologic control on Sr skeletal partitioning limits the use of Sr/Ca as an indicator of water temperature in Astrosclera willeyana.
Date: June 30, 2004
Creator: Fallon, S J; McCulloch, M T & Guilderson, T P
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Radiocarbon Based Ages and Growth Rates: Hawaiian Deep Sea Corals

Description: The radial growth rates and ages of three different groups of Hawaiian deep-sea 'corals' were determined using radiocarbon measurements. Specimens of Corallium secundum, Gerardia sp., and Leiopathes glaberrima, were collected from 450 {+-} 40 m at the Makapuu deep-sea coral bed using a submersible (PISCES V). Specimens of Antipathes dichotoma were collected at 50 m off Lahaina, Maui. The primary source of carbon to the calcitic C. secundum skeleton is in situ dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Using bomb {sup 14}C time markers we calculate radial growth rates of {approx} 170 {micro}m y{sup -1} and ages of 68-75 years on specimens as tall as 28 cm of C. secundum. Gerardia sp., A. dichotoma, and L. glaberrima have proteinaceous skeletons and labile particulate organic carbon (POC) is their primary source of architectural carbon. Using {sup 14}C we calculate a radial growth rate of 15 {micro}m y{sup -1} and an age of 807 {+-} 30 years for a live collected Gerardia sp., showing that these organisms are extremely long lived. Inner and outer {sup 14}C measurements on four sub-fossil Gerardia spp. samples produce similar growth rate estimates (range 14-45 {micro}m y{sup -1}) and ages (range 450-2742 years) as observed for the live collected sample. Similarly, with a growth rate of < 10 {micro}m y{sup -1} and an age of {approx}2377 years, L. glaberrima at the Makapuu coral bed, is also extremely long lived. In contrast, the shallow-collected A. dichotoma samples yield growth rates ranging from 130 to 1,140 {micro}m y{sup -1}. These results show that Hawaiian deep-sea corals grow more slowly and are older than previously thought.
Date: January 13, 2006
Creator: Roark, E B; Guilderson, T P; Dunbar, R B & Ingram, B L
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Radiocarbon Chronology of Hunter-Gatherer Occupation from Bodega Bay, California, USA

Description: The evolution of hunter-gatherer maritime adaptations in western North America has been a prominent topic of discussion among archaeologists in recent years (e.g. Arnold 1992; Erlandson and Colten 1991; Erlandson and Glassow 1997; Lightfoot 1993). Although vast coastal regions of the northeastern Pacific (for example, southern California) have been investigated in detail, our understanding of hunter-gatherer developments along the coast of northern California is limited. Previous research indicates that humans have exploited marine mammals, fish and shellfish along the northern California shoreline since the early Holocene (Schwaderer 1992). By the end of the late Holocene, some groups remained year-round on the coast subsisting primarily on marine resources (e.g. Gould 1975; Hildebrandt and Levulett 2002). However, a paucity of well-dated cultural deposits has hindered our understanding of these developments, particularly during the early and middle Holocene. The lack of a long and reliable chronological sequence has restricted our interpretations of behavioral change, including the adaptive strategies (such as foraging, mobility and settlement) used by human foragers to colonize and inhabit the coastal areas of this region. These shortcomings have also hindered comparative interpretations with other coastal and inland regions in western North America. Here we present a Holocene radiocarbon chronology of hunter-gatherer occupation based on contemporaneous samples of charcoal and Mytilus californianus (California sea mussel) shell recovered from seven archaeological sites near Bodega Bay, California. A series of 127 {sup 14}C ages reveal a chronological sequence that spans from ca. 8940-110 cal BP (1{sigma}) (7890-160 {sup 14}C yr BP = charcoal; 8934-101 {sup 14}C yr BP = shell). As part of this sequence, we report new {sup 14}C dates from the stratified cave and open-air midden deposits at Duncan's Landing (CA-SON-348/H). In addition, we present {sup 14}C ages from three middle Holocene sites located in the Bodega Dunes, and from three ...
Date: April 27, 2005
Creator: Kennedy, M A; Russell, A D & Guilderson, T P
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Radiocarbon evidence for annual growth rings in a deep sea octocoral (Primnoa resedaeformis)

Description: The deep-sea gorgonian octocoral Primnoa resedaeformis is distributed throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at depths of 65-3200 m. It has a two-part skeleton of calcite and gorgonin. Towards the inside of the axial skeleton gorgonin and calcite are deposited in concentric growth rings, similar to tree rings. Colonies were collected from the Northeast Channel (northwest Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Nova Scotia, Canada) from depths of 250-475 m. Radiocarbon was measured in individual rings isolated from sections of each colony, after dissolution of calcite. Each {Delta}{sup 14}C measurement was paired with a ring age determined by three amateur ring counters. The precision of ring counts averaged better than {+-} 2 years. Accurate reconstruction of 20th century bomb-radiocarbon shows that (1) the growth rings are formed annually, (2) the gorgonin is derived from surface particulate organic matter (POM) and (3) useful environmental data are recorded in the organic endoskeletons of deep-sea octocorals. These results support the use of Primnoa resedaeformis as a long-term, high resolution monitor of surface ocean conditions, particularly in temperate and boreal environments where proxy data are lacking.
Date: April 5, 2005
Creator: Sherwood, O A; Scott, D B; Risk, M J & Guilderson, T P
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: Plasma oxidation was used to obtain radiocarbon dates on six different materials from a naturally mummified baby bundle from the Lower Pecos River region of southwest Texas. This bundle was selected because it was thought to represent a single event and would illustrate the accuracy and precision of the plasma oxidation method. Five of the materials were clearly components of the original bundle with 13 dates combined to yield a weighted average of 2135 {+-} 11 B.P. Six dates from a wooden stick of Desert Ash averaged 939 {+-} 14 B.P., indicating that this artifact was not part of the original burial. Plasma oxidation is shown to be a virtually non-destructive alternative to combustion. Because only sub-milligram amounts of material are removed from an artifact over its exposed surface, no visible change in fragile materials has been observed, even under magnification. The method is best applied when natural organic contamination is unlikely and serious consideration of this issue is needed in all cases. If organic contamination is present, it will have to be removed before plasma oxidation to obtain accurate radiocarbon dates.
Date: September 7, 2004
Creator: Steelman, K L; Rowe, M W; Turpin, S A; Guilderson, T P & Nightengale, L
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Methods for high precision 14C AMS measurement of atmospheric CO2 at LLNL

Description: Development of {sup 14}C analysis with precision better than 2{per_thousand} has the potential to expand the utility of {sup 14}CO{sub 2} measurements for carbon cycle investigations as atmospheric gradients currently approach traditional measurement precision of 2-5{per_thousand}. The AMS facility at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, produces high and stable beam currents that enable efficient acquisition times for large numbers of {sup 14}C counts. One million {sup 14}C atoms can be detected in approximately 25 minutes, suggesting that near 1{per_thousand} counting precision is economically feasible at LLNL. The overall uncertainty in measured values is ultimately determined by the variation between measured ratios in several sputtering periods of the same sample and by the reproducibility of replicate samples. Experiments on the collection of one million counts on replicate samples of CO{sub 2} extracted from a whole air cylinder show a standard deviation of 1.7{per_thousand} in 36 samples measured over several wheels. This precision may be limited by the reproducibility of Oxalic Acid I standard samples, which is considerably poorer. We outline the procedures for high-precision sample handling and analysis that have enabled reproducibility in the cylinder extraction samples at the <2{per_thousand} level and describe future directions to continue increasing measurement precision at LLNL.
Date: October 18, 2006
Creator: Graven, H D; Guilderson, T P & Keeling, R F
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Annual Growth Bands in Hymenaea courbaril

Description: One significant source of annual temperature and precipitation data arises from the regular annual secondary growth rings of trees. Several tropical tree species are observed to form regular growth bands that may or may not form annually. Such growth was observed in one stem disk of the tropical legume Hymenaea courbaril near the area of David, Panama. In comparison to annual reference {Delta}{sup 14}C values from wood and air, the {Delta}{sup 14}C values from the secondary growth rings formed by H. courbaril were determined to be annual in nature in this one stem disk specimen. During this study, H. courbaril was also observed to translocate recently produced photosynthate into older growth rings as sapwood is converted to heartwood. This process alters the overall {Delta}{sup 14}C values of these transitional growth rings as cellulose with a higher {Delta}{sup 14}C content is translocated into growth rings with a relatively lower {Delta}{sup 14}C content. Once the annual nature of these growth rings is established, further stable isotope analyses on H. courbaril material in other studies may help to complete gaps in the understanding of short and of long term global climate patterns.
Date: February 9, 2004
Creator: Westbrook, J A; Guilderson, T P & Colinvaux, P A
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Decadal- to interannual-scale source water variations in the Caribbean Sea recorded by Puerto Rican coral radiocarbon

Description: Water that forms the Florida Current, and eventually the Gulf Stream, coalesces in the Caribbean from both subtropical and equatorial sources. The equatorial sources are made up of, in part, South Atlantic water moving northward and compensating for southward flow at depth related to meridional overturning circulation. Subtropical surface water contains relatively high amounts of radiocarbon ({sup 14}C), whereas equatorial waters are influenced by the upwelling of low {sup 14}C water and have relatively low concentrations of {sup 14}C. We use a 250-year record of {Delta}{sup 14}C in a coral from southwestern Puerto Rico along with previously published coral {Delta}{sup 14}C records as tracers of subtropical and equatorial water mixing in the northern Caribbean. Data generated in this study and from other studies indicate that the influence of either of the two water masses can change considerably on interannual to interdecadal time scales. Variability due to ocean dynamics in this region is large relative to variability caused by atmospheric {sup 14}C changes, thus masking the Suess effect at this site. A mixing model produced using coral {Delta}{sup 14}C illustrates the time varying proportion of equatorial versus subtropical waters in the northern Caribbean between 1963 and 1983. The results of the model are consistent with linkages between multidecadal thermal variability in the North Atlantic and meridional overturning circulation. Ekman transport changes related to tradewind variability are proposed as a possible mechanism to explain the observed switches between relatively low and relatively high {Delta}{sup 14}C values in the coral radiocarbon records.
Date: December 5, 2006
Creator: Kilbourne, K H; Quinn, T M; Guilderson, T P; Webb, R S & Taylor, F W
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biogeochemical Proxies in Scleractinian Corals used to Reconstruct Ocean Circulation

Description: We utilize monthly {sup 14}C data derived from coral archives in conjunction with ocean circulation models to address two questions: (1) how does the shallow circulation of the tropical Pacific vary on seasonal to decadal time scales and (2) which dynamic processes determine the mean vertical structure of the equatorial Pacific thermocline. Our results directly impact the understanding of global climate events such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). To study changes in ocean circulation and water mass distribution involved in the genesis and evolution of ENSO and decadal climate variability, it is necessary to have records of climate variables several decades in length. Continuous instrumental records are limited because technology for continuous monitoring of ocean currents has only recently been available, and ships of opportunity archives such as COADS contain large spatial and temporal biases. In addition, temperature and salinity in surface waters are not conservative and thus can not be independently relied upon to trace water masses, reducing the utility of historical observations. Radiocarbon ({sup 14}C) in sea water is a quasi-conservative water mass tracer and is incorporated into coral skeletal material, thus coral {sup 14}C records can be used to reconstruct changes in shallow circulation that would be difficult to characterize using instrumental data. High resolution {Delta}{sup 14}C timeseries such as these, provide a powerful constraint on the rate of surface ocean mixing and hold great promise to augment onetime surveys such as GEOSECS and WOCE. These data not only provide fundamental information about the shallow circulation of the Pacific, but can be used as a benchmark for the next generation of high resolution ocean models used in prognosticating climate change.
Date: February 23, 2001
Creator: Guilderson, T.P.; Kashgarian, M. & Schrag, D.P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Laurentide Ice Sheet meltwater and abrupt climate change during the last glaciation

Description: A leading hypothesis to explain abrupt climate change during the last glacial cycle calls on fluctuations in the margin of the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS), which may have routed freshwater between the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and North Atlantic, affecting North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) variability and regional climate. Paired measurements of {delta}O and Mg/Ca of foraminiferal calcite from GOM sediments reveal five episodes of LIS meltwater input from 28-45 thousand years ago (ka) that do not match the millennial-scale Dansgaard-Oeschger (D/O) warmings recorded in Greenland ice. We suggest that summer melting of the LIS may occur during Antarctic warming and likely contributed to sea-level variability during Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3).
Date: October 2, 2005
Creator: Hill, H W; Flower, B P; Quinn, T M; Hollander, D J & Guilderson, T P
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Seasonally Resolved Surface Water (delta)14C Variability in the Lombok Strait: A Coralline Perspective

Description: We have explored surface water mixing in the Lombok Strait through a {approx}bimonthly resolved surface water {Delta}{sup 14}C time-series reconstructed from a coral in the Lombok Strait that spans 1937 through 1990. The prebomb surface water {Delta}{sup 14}C average is -60.5{per_thousand} and individual samples range from -72{per_thousand} to 134{per_thousand}. The annual average post-bomb maximum occurs in 1973 and is 122{per_thousand}. The timing of the post-bomb maximum is consistent with a primary subtropical source for the surface waters in the Indonesian Seas. During the post-bomb period the coral records regular seasonal cycles of 5-20{per_thousand}. Seasonal high {Delta}{sup 14}C occur during March-May (warm, low salinity), and low {Delta}{sup 14}C occur in September (cool, higher salinity). The {Delta}{sup 14}C seasonality is coherent and in phase with the seasonal {Delta}{sup 14}C cycle observed in Makassar Strait. We estimate the influence of high {Delta}{sup 14}C Makassar Strait (North Pacific) water flowing through the Lombok Strait using a two endmember mixing model and the seasonal extremes observed at the two sites. The percentage of Makassar Strait water varies between 16 and 70%, and between 1955 and 1990 it averages 40%. During La Nina events there is a higher percentage of Makassar Strait (high {Delta}{sup 14}C) water in the Lombok Strait.
Date: April 23, 2008
Creator: Guilderson, T P; Fallon, S J; Moore, M D; Schrag, D P & Charles, C D
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Temperature and vital effect controls on Bamboo coral (Isididae) isotopegeochemistry: A test of the "lines method"

Description: Deep-sea bamboo corals hold promise as long-term climatic archives, yet little information exists linking bamboo coral geochemistry to measured environmental parameters. This study focuses on a suite of 10 bamboo corals collected from the Pacific and Atlantic basins (250-2136 m water depth) to investigate coral longevity, growth rates, and isotopic signatures. Calcite samples for stable isotopes and radiocarbon were collected from the base the corals, where the entire history of growth is recorded. In three of the coral specimens, samples were also taken from an upper branch for comparison. Radiocarbon and growth band width analyses indicate that the skeletal calcite precipitates from ambient dissolved inorganic carbon and that the corals live for 150-300 years, with extension rates of 9-128 {micro}m/yr. A linear relationship between coral calcite {delta}{sup 18}O and {delta}{sup 13}C indicates that the isotopic composition is influenced by vital effects ({delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C slope of 0.17-0.47). As with scleractinian deep-sea corals, the intercept from a linear regression of {delta}{sup 18}O versus {delta}{sup 13}C is a function of temperature, such that a reliable paleotemperature proxy can be obtained, using the 'lines method.' Although the coral calcite {delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C slope is maintained throughout the coral base ontogeny, the branches and central cores of the bases exhibit {delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C values that are shifted far from equilibrium. We find that a reliable intercept value can be derived from the {delta}{sup 18}O:{delta}{sup 13}C regression of multiple samples distributed throughout one specimen or from multiple samples within individual growth bands.
Date: March 1, 2011
Creator: Hill, T M; Spero, H J; Guilderson, T P; LaVigne, M; Clague, D; Macalello, S et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sea Water Radiocarbon Evolution in the Gulf of Alaska: 2002 Observations

Description: Oceanic uptake and transport of bomb radiocarbon as {sup 14}CO{sub 2} created by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s has been a useful diagnostic to determine the carbon transfer between the ocean and atmosphere. In addition, the distribution of radiocarbon in the ocean can be used as a tracer of oceanic circulation. Results obtained from samples collected in the Gulf of Alaska in the summer of 2002 provide a direct comparison with results in the 1970s during GEOSECS and in the early 1990s during WOCE. The open gyre values are 20-40{per_thousand} more negative than those documented in 1991 and 1993 (WOCE) although the general trends as a function of latitude are reproduced. Surface values are still significantly higher than pre-bomb levels ({approx}-105{per_thousand} or lower). In the central gyre, we observe {Delta}{sup 14}C-values that are lower in comparison to GEOSECS (stn 218) and WOCE P16/P17 to a density of {approx}26.8{sigma}t. This observation is consistent with the overall decrease in surface {Delta}{sup 14}C values, and reflects the erosion of the bomb-{sup 14}C transient. We propose that erosion of the bomb-{sup 14}C transient is accomplished by entrainment of low {sup 14}C water via vertical exchange within the Gulf of Alaska and replenishment of surface and sub-thermocline waters with waters derived from the far northwest Pacific.
Date: April 8, 2005
Creator: Guilderson, T P; Roark, E B; Quay, P D; Flood-Page, S R & Moy, C
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Stable isotopic composition of deep sea gorgonian corals (Primnoa spp.): a new archive of surface processes.

Description: The deep-sea gorgonian coral Primnoa spp. lives in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at depths of 65-3200 m. This coral has an arborescent growth form with a skeletal axis composed of annual rings made from calcite and gorgonin. It has a lifespan of at least several hundred years. It has been suggested that isotopic profiles from the gorgonin fraction of the skeleton could be used to reconstruct long-term, annual-scale variations in surface productivity. We tested assumptions about the trophic level, intra-colony isotopic reproducibility, and preservation of isotopic signatures in a suite of modern and fossil specimens. Measurements of gorgonin {Delta}{sup 14}C and {delta}{sup 15}N indicate that Primnoa spp. feed mainly on zooplankton and/or sinking particulate organic matter (POM{sub SINK}), and not on suspended POM (POM{sub SUSP}) or dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Gorgonin {delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N in specimens from NE Pacific shelf waters, NW Atlantic slope waters, the Sea of Japan, and a South Pacific (Southern Ocean sector) seamount were strongly correlated with Levitus 1994 surface apparent oxygen utilization (AOU; the best available measure of surface productivity), demonstrating coupling between skeletal isotopic ratios and biophysical processes in surface water. Time-series isotopic profiles from different sections along the same colony were identical for {delta}{sup 13}C, while {delta}{sup 15}N profiles became more dissimilar with increasing separation along the colony axis. Similarity in C:N, {delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N between modern and fossil specimens suggest that isotopic signatures are preserved over millennial timescales. Finally, the utility of this new archive was demonstrated by reconstruction of 20th century bomb radiocarbon.
Date: February 3, 2005
Creator: Sherwood, O A; Heikoop, J M; Scott, D B; Risk, M J; Guilderson, T P & McKinney, R A
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Geochemical and Sedimentary Record of High Southern Latitude Holocene Climate Evolution from Lago Fagnano, Tierra del Fuego

Description: Situated at the southern margin of the hemispheric westerly wind belt and immediately north of the Antarctic Polar Frontal zone, Tierra del Fuego is well-positioned to monitor coupled changes in the ocean-atmosphere system of the high southern latitudes. Here we describe a Holocene paleoclimate record from sediment cores obtained from Lago Fagnano, a large lake in southern Tierra del Fuego at 55{sup o}S, to investigate past changes in climate related to these two important features of the global climate system. We use an AMS radiocarbon chronology for the last 8,000 years based on pollen concentrates, thereby avoiding contamination from bedrock-derived lignite. Our chronology is consistent with a tephrochronologic age date for deposits from the middle Holocene Volcan Hudson eruption. Combining bulk organic isotopic ({delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N) and elemental (C and N) parameters with physical sediment properties allow us to better understand sediment provenance and transport mechanisms and to interpret Holocene climate and tectonic change during the last 8,000 years. Co-variability and long-term trends in C/N ratio, carbon accumulation rate, and magnetic susceptibility reflect an overall Holocene increase in the delivery of terrestrial organic and lithogenic material to the deep eastern basin. We attribute this variability to westerly wind-derived precipitation. Increased wind strength and precipitation in the late Holocene drives the Nothofagus forest eastward and enhances run-off and terrigenous inputs to the lake. Superimposed on the long-term trend are a series of abrupt 9 negative departures in C/N ratio, which constrain the presence of seismically-driven mass flow events in the record. We identify an increase in bulk {delta}{sup 13}C between 7,000 and 5,000 cal yr BP that we attribute to enhanced aquatic productivity driven by warmer summer temperatures. The Lago Fagnano {delta}{sup 13}C record shows similarities with Holocene records of sea surface temperature from the mid-latitude Chilean continental shelf ...
Date: November 19, 2010
Creator: Moy, C M; Dunbar, R B; Guilderson, T P; Waldmann, N; Mucciarone, D A; Recasens, C et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Climate Change in Lowland Central America During the Late Deglacial and Early Holocene

Description: The transition from arid glacial to moist early Holocene conditions represented a profound change in northern lowland Neotropical climate. Here we report a detailed record of changes in moisture availability during the latter part of this transition ({approx}11,250 to 7,500 cal yr BP) inferred from sediment cores retrieved in Lake Peten Itza, northern Guatemala. Pollen assemblages demonstrate that a mesic forest had been largely established by {approx}11,250 cal yr BP, but sediment properties indicate that lake level was more than 35 m below modern stage. From 11,250 to 10,350 cal yr BP, during the Preboreal period, lithologic changes in sediments from deep-water cores (>50 m below modern water level) indicate several wet-dry cycles that suggest distinct changes in effective moisture. Four dry events (designated PBE1-4) occurred at 11,200, 10,900, 10,700, and 10,400 cal yr BP and correlate with similar variability observed in the Cariaco Basin titanium record and glacial meltwater pulses into the Gulf of Mexico. After 10,350 cal yr BP, multiple sediment proxies suggest a shift to a more persistently moist early Holocene climate. Comparison of results from Lake Peten Itza with other records from the circum-Caribbean demonstrates a coherent climate response during the entire span of our record. Furthermore, lowland Neotropical climate during the late deglacial and early Holocene period appears to be tightly linked to climate change in the high-latitude North Atlantic. We speculate that the observed changes in lowland Neotropical precipitation were related to the intensity of the annual cycle and associated displacements in the mean latitudinal position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Azores-Bermuda high-pressure system. This mechanism operated on millennial-to-submillennial timescales and may have responded to changes in solar radiation, glacial meltwater, North Atlantic sea ice, and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC).
Date: February 8, 2005
Creator: Hillesheim, M B; Hodell, D A; Leyden, B W; Brenner, M; Curtis, J H; Anselmetti, F S et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department