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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-40
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Apr 2018

Research article | 03 Apr 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

A 900-year New England temperature reconstruction from in situ seasonally produced branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs)

Daniel R. Miller1,2, M. Helen Habicht2, Benjamin A. Keisling2, Isla S. Castañeda2, and Raymond S. Bradley1,2 Daniel R. Miller et al.
  • 1Northeast Climate Science Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
  • 2Climate System Research Center, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA

Abstract. Paleotemperature reconstructions are essential for distinguishing anthropogenic climate change from natural variability. An emerging method in paleoclimatology is the use of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) in lacustrine sediments to reconstruct temperature, but their application is hindered by a limited understanding of their sources, seasonal production, and transport. We report seasonally resolved measurements of brGDGT production within the water column, in catchment soils and in a sediment sequence from a small, deep inland lake in Maine, USA. BrGDGT distributions in the water column are distinct from catchment soils but similar to the distributions in lake sediments, suggesting that (1) brGDGTs are produced within the lake and (2) this in situ production dominates the downcore sedimentary signal. Seasonally, depth-resolved measurements indicate that the dominant production of brGDGTs occurs in late fall/early spring and at intermediate depths (18–30 meters) in the water column. We apply these observations to help interpret a 900-year-long brGDGT-based temperature reconstruction and find that it shows similar trends to a pollen record from the same site and to regional and global syntheses of terrestrial temperatures over the last millennium. However, the record also shows higher-frequency variability than has previously been captured by such an archive in the Northeastern United States, potentially attributed to the North Atlantic Oscillation and volcanic/solar activity. This is the first brGDGT- based multi-centennial paleoreconstruction from this region and contributes to our understanding of the production and fate of brGDGTs in lacustrine systems.

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Daniel R. Miller et al.
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Latest update: 25 Sep 2018
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Short summary
We measured biomarker production over a year in a small, inland lake in the Northeast USA. Understanding biomarkers in the modern environment helps us improve reconstructions of past climate from lake sediment records. We use these results to interpret a 900 year, decadally-resolved temperature record from this lake. Our record highlights multidecadal oscillations in temperature superimposed on a long-term cooling trend, providing novel insight into climate dynamics of the region.
We measured biomarker production over a year in a small, inland lake in the Northeast USA....
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