Hydrological instability during the Last Interglacial in central Asia: a new diatom oxygen isotope record from Lake Baikal

Mackay, Anson W.; Swann, George E.A.; Fagel, Nathalie; Fietz, Susanne; Leng, Melanie J.; Morley, David; Rioual, Patrick; Tarasov, Pavel. 2013 Hydrological instability during the Last Interglacial in central Asia: a new diatom oxygen isotope record from Lake Baikal. Quaternary Science Reviews, 66. 45-54.

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Last Interglacial variability is commonly used as an analogue for variability in a future, warmer world. Pervasive cycles are increasingly apparent in Last Interglacial archives, although studies in continental regions are under-represented. Here we provide a new isotopic record of diatom silica (δ18Odiatom) spanning c. 127.5–115 ka BP from Lake Baikal in central Asia. Peak rain-fed discharge occurred c. 125.4 ka BP, shortly after July insolation maximum and initiation of Siberian soil development. Between 127 and 119.7 ka BP there are six marked fluctuations in δ18Odiatom values, with a pacing of approximately 1.26 ± 0.3 ka, similar to fluctuations of within lake productivity. Fluctuations in δ18Odiatom values show good agreement with patterns in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), supporting hypothesis of strong teleconnections via the Westerlies between the North Atlantic and central Asia. Two periods of low δ18Odiatom values are especially notable. The earliest between c. 126.5 and 126 ka BP is concurrent with the final stages of the Heinrich 11. The second between 120.5 and 119.7 ka BP is also concurrent with an increase in ice-rafted debris in the North Atlantic. Aquatic productivity in Lake Baikal increased between 119.7 and 117.4 ka BP before declining to the top of the record (115 ka BP) concomitant with a shift to predominately cool steppe catchment vegetation. However, isotopic composition of discharge into Lake Baikal provides evidence for strong penetration of Westerlies into central Asia during the latter stages of the Last Interglacial. Variability in δ18Odiatom values was compared between the Last Interglacial and the Holocene. Millennial-scale variability was significantly more stable during the Last Interglacial, possibly linked to diminished influence of freshwater discharge on AMOC during periods of higher, global mean temperatures.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 02773791
Date made live: 12 Mar 2014 15:32 +0 (UTC)

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