Late-glacial to holocene climate variability in western Ireland
Diefendorf, Aaron F.
Increasing concerns over future anthropogenic effects on climate change as a result of increasing greenhouse gases generate concomitant efforts to better characterize recent climate in order to more accurately predict climate in the future. To this end, a multiproxy study of climate variability in western Ireland from lacustrine sediment was undertaken. The interpretation of paleoclimate records derived from lacustrine carbonate minerals is difficult without a good understanding of the mechanisms that generate variation in isotope values of modern surface waters. Variation in surface waters are ultimately incorporated into lacustrine sediment records conflated by temperature. Therefore, a study of the spatial distribution of ä18O and äD values of lake and river waters from 144 locations in Ireland has been conducted to provide insight into the behavior of lakes and rivers in Ireland, including source, recycling and loss through evapotranspiration. A 7.6 m sediment core was recovered from Lough Inchiquin that provides evidence for rapid and long-term climate change from the Late Glacial to the Holocene. This was determined using carbon and oxygen isotope analyses of lacustrine calcite as well as carbon from bulk organic sediment fractions. Several significant climate perturbations were identified in the ä18Ocalcite record such as the Oldest Dryas, Younger Dryas, and the 8.2 ka cold event. A previously undescribed climate anomaly between 7,300 to 6,700 cal. yr B.P. characterized by low ä18Ocalcite values with high frequency variability. Variations in carbon isotopes of calcite and bulk organics from the Late Glacial to the Holocene are significant in magnitude (~12‰) and have similar trends that record temporal shifts in the relative contributions of carbon from the weathering of limestone versus the weathering of terrestrial organic matter. ä13Ccalcite and ä13Corg suggest a rapid recovery of terrestrial vegetation following the Younger Dryas. Change in Ää13Ccalcite - org documents a rapid increase in exogenous fluxes of carbon into the lake at ~9 ka.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorPatterson, William P.
CommitteeSmol, John; Pratt, Brian R.; Holmden, Chris; Ansdell, Kevin M.
Copyright DateApril 2005