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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 11 | Copyright
Clim. Past, 14, 1653-1667, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1653-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Nov 2018

Research article | 07 Nov 2018

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 Adaptation 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 paleolimnology is the use of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) in sediments to reconstruct temperature, but their application is hindered by a limited understanding of their sources, seasonal production, and transport. Here, we report seasonally resolved measurements of brGDGT production in the water column, in catchment soils, and in a sediment core from Basin Pond, a small, deep inland lake in Maine, USA. We find similar brGDGT distributions in both water column and lake sediment samples but the catchment soils have distinct brGDGT distributions suggesting that (1) brGDGTs are produced within the lake and (2) this in situ production dominates the down-core sedimentary signal. Seasonally, depth-resolved measurements indicate that most brGDGT production occurs in late fall, and at intermediate depths (18–30m) in the water column. We utilize these observations to help interpret a Basin Pond brGDGT-based temperature reconstruction spanning the past 900 years. This record exhibits trends similar to a pollen record from the same site and also to regional and global syntheses of terrestrial temperatures over the last millennium. However, the Basin Pond temperature record 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 or solar activity. This first brGDGT-based multi-centennial paleoreconstruction from this region contributes to our understanding of the production and fate of brGDGTs in lacustrine systems.

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We measured biomarker production over a year in a small inland lake in the northeastern 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 multi-decadal 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 northeastern USA....
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