Pliocene climate change on Ellesmere Island, Canada : annual variability determined from stable isotopes of fossil wood
Csank, Adam Zoltan
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Tree-ring analyses have contributed significantly to investigations of climate change and climate cycles, including the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Stable isotope climate proxies (?18O, ?D, and ?13C) have enhanced traditional ring-width data, although poor preservation of ancient wood has generally constrained reconstruction of stable isotope proxy records to the Holocene and Late Pleistocene. An opportunity to apply these stable isotope methods to older wood has been presented by recovery of remains of Mixed-Coniferous Boreal Vegetation, in Early Pliocene (4-5 Ma) deposits at Strathcona Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Canada (~79°N). An exceptionally well-preserved tree trunk, identified as Larix (larch) through wood anatomical characteristics, from this high Arctic site provided a 203-year tree-ring record, from which we present the first high-resolution, secular isotope record of Pliocene climate. ?18O, ?D, and ?13C isotope values indicate a variable climate with alternating intervals of cool/wet to warm/dry weather. These fluctuations in climate may be attributable to phase changes in climate cycles observed in the record. A growing season mean temperature of 14.4 °C was calculated from isotopic analysis of gastropod shells. Palaeoclimatic modeling of tree isotope values has revealed growing season temperatures of 11-15 °C, and estimated isotope values of precipitation of –18.3 ‰ (?18O) and –228 ‰ (?D). Both palaeotemperature estimates and source water calculations are comparable to those found in a modern Boreal Forest. Time-series wavelet analysis was applied to these data revealing prominent short (
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorPatterson, William P.; Basinger, James F.
CommitteeRenaut, Robin W.; Holmden, Chris; Cota-Sánchez, J. Hugo; Ansdell, Kevin M.
Copyright DateJune 2006