Special Issue "Speleothem Records and Climate"

A special issue of Quaternary (ISSN 2571-550X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Sandy P. Harrison

Associate Editor
School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Sciences, Reading University, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AH, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: palaeoclimate dynamics; palaeoclimate reconstruction; land–atmosphere interaction; biogeochemical cycles
Guest Editor
Dr. Laia Comas Bru

School of Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Sciences, Reading University, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AH, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: palaeoclimate dynamics; oxygen isotopes; speleothems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Given their extremely high temporal resolution and the excellent opportunities for dating, speleothem records provide a unique opportunity for assessing climate change on various spatial and temporal scales, over the last 21,000 years and beyond. The different measurements made on speleothems, including the stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon (δ18O, δ13C) and various trace elements, are widely used to reconstruct local changes in the hydrological cycle and changes in atmospheric composition. Furthermore, regional syntheses of speleothem data provide an opportunity to reconstruct changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Such syntheses open up the possibility of using speleothem records to evaluate state-of-the-art climate models that explicitly simulate water and carbon isotopes and/or atmospheric tracers such as dust. Several of the modelling groups involved in palaeoclimate simulations during the current phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6/PMIP4) are using with isotope- and tracer-enabled model versions, and, thus, it is timely to assess the state of data availability and our understanding of these records.

The SISAL Working Group of the Past Global Changes project (PAGES; http://pastglobalchanges.org/ini/wg/sisal/intro) invites contributions from the community documenting speleothem records and their interpretation for key regions of the world, particularly contributions drawing on the SISAL database.  We also invite methodological contributions, including innovative approaches to dating, interpretation, climate reconstruction, and data-model comparison.

Prof. Sandy P. Harrison
Dr. Laia Comas Bru
Guest Editors

 

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Speleothem
  • δ18O
  • δ13C
  • palaeoclimate reconstruction
  • regional climate dynamics
  • isotope modelling
  • CMIP6/PMIP4

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
SISAL: Bringing Added Value to Speleothem Research
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010007
Received: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (547 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Isotopic records from speleothems are an important source of information about past climates and, given the increase in the number of isotope-enabled climate models, are likely to become an important tool for climate model evaluation. SISAL (Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis) have created [...] Read more.
Isotopic records from speleothems are an important source of information about past climates and, given the increase in the number of isotope-enabled climate models, are likely to become an important tool for climate model evaluation. SISAL (Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis) have created a global database of isotopic records from speleothems in order to facilitate regional analyses and data-model comparison. The papers in this Special Issue showcase the use of the database for regional analyses. In this paper, we discuss some of the important issues underpinning the use of speleothems and how the existence of this database assists palaeoclimate research. We also highlight some of the lessons learned in the creation of the SISAL database and outline potential research going forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessReview
The Asian Summer Monsoon: Teleconnections and Forcing Mechanisms—A Review from Chinese Speleothem δ18O Records
Quaternary 2019, 2(3), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2030026
Received: 21 March 2019 / Revised: 10 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
Asian summer monsoon (ASM) variability significantly affects hydro-climate, and thus socio-economics, in the East Asian region, where nearly one-third of the global population resides. Over the last two decades, speleothem δ18O records from China have been utilized to reconstruct ASM variability [...] Read more.
Asian summer monsoon (ASM) variability significantly affects hydro-climate, and thus socio-economics, in the East Asian region, where nearly one-third of the global population resides. Over the last two decades, speleothem δ18O records from China have been utilized to reconstruct ASM variability and its underlying forcing mechanisms on orbital to seasonal timescales. Here, we use the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis database (SISAL_v1) to present an overview of hydro-climate variability related to the ASM during three periods: the late Pleistocene, the Holocene, and the last two millennia. We highlight the possible global teleconnections and forcing mechanisms of the ASM on different timescales. The longest composite stalagmite δ18O record over the past 640 kyr BP from the region demonstrates that ASM variability on orbital timescales is dominated by the 23 kyr precessional cycles, which are in phase with Northern Hemisphere summer insolation (NHSI). During the last glacial, millennial changes in the intensity of the ASM appear to be controlled by North Atlantic climate and oceanic feedbacks. During the Holocene, changes in ASM intensity were primarily controlled by NHSI. However, the spatio-temporal distribution of monsoon rain belts may vary with changes in ASM intensity on decadal to millennial timescales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Open AccessReview
Speleothems from the Middle East: An Example of Water Limited Environments in the SISAL Database
Quaternary 2019, 2(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2020016
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
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Abstract
The Middle East (ME) spans the transition between a temperate Mediterranean climate in the Levant to hyper-arid sub-tropical deserts in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula (AP), with the complex alpine topography in the northeast feeding the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which [...] Read more.
The Middle East (ME) spans the transition between a temperate Mediterranean climate in the Levant to hyper-arid sub-tropical deserts in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula (AP), with the complex alpine topography in the northeast feeding the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which support life in the Southeastern Fertile Crescent (FC). Climate projections predict severe drying in several parts of the ME in response to global warming, making it important to understand the controls of hydro-climate perturbations in the region. Here we discuss 23 ME speleothem stable oxygen isotope (δ18Occ) records from 16 sites from the SISAL_v1 database (Speleothem Isotope Synthesis and Analysis database), which provide a record of past hydro-climatic variability. Sub-millennial changes in ME δ18Occ values primarily indicate changes in past precipitation amounts the result of the main synoptic pattern in the region, specifically Mediterranean cyclones. This pattern is superimposed on change in vapor source δ18O composition. The coherency (or lack thereof) between regional records is reviewed from Pleistocene to present, covering the Last Glacial Maximum (~22 ka), prominent events during deglaciation, and the transition into the Holocene. The available δ18Occ time-series are investigated by binning and normalizing at 25-year and 200-year time windows over the Holocene. Important climatic oscillations in the Holocene are discussed, such as the 8.2 ka, 4.2 ka and 0.7 ka (the Little Ice Age) Before Present events. Common trends in the normalized anomalies are tested against different climate archives. Finally, recommendations for future speleothem-based research in the region are given along with comments on the utility and completeness of the SISAL database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Open AccessReview
Late Quaternary Variations in the South American Monsoon System as Inferred by Speleothems—New Perspectives Using the SISAL Database
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010006
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (7267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Here we present an overview of speleothem δ18O records from South America, most of which are available in the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis (SISAL_v1) database. South American tropical and subtropical speleothem δ18O time series are primarily interpreted to [...] Read more.
Here we present an overview of speleothem δ18O records from South America, most of which are available in the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis (SISAL_v1) database. South American tropical and subtropical speleothem δ18O time series are primarily interpreted to reflect changes in precipitation amount, the amount effect, and consequently history of convection intensity variability of convergence zones such as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and the South America Monsoon System (SAMS). We investigate past hydroclimate scenarios in South America related to the South American Monsoon System in three different time periods: Late Pleistocene, Holocene, and the last two millennia. Precession driven summertime insolation is the main driver of convective variability over the continent during the last 120 kyrs (from present day to 120 kyrs BP), including the Holocene. However, there is a dipole between speleothem δ18O records from western and eastern South America. Records located in the central region of Brazil are weakly affected by insolation-driven variability, and instead are more susceptible to the variability associated with the South Atlantic Convergence Zone (SACZ). Cold episodic events in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Heinrich and Bond Events, and the Little Ice Age, increase the convective activity of the SAMS, resulting in increased precipitation amount in South America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Speleothem Paleoclimatology for the Caribbean, Central America, and North America
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010005
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5196 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Speleothem oxygen isotope records from the Caribbean, Central, and North America reveal climatic controls that include orbital variation, deglacial forcing related to ocean circulation and ice sheet retreat, and the influence of local and remote sea surface temperature variations. Here, we review these [...] Read more.
Speleothem oxygen isotope records from the Caribbean, Central, and North America reveal climatic controls that include orbital variation, deglacial forcing related to ocean circulation and ice sheet retreat, and the influence of local and remote sea surface temperature variations. Here, we review these records and the global climate teleconnections they suggest following the recent publication of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and Analysis (SISAL) database. We find that low-latitude records generally reflect changes in precipitation, whereas higher latitude records are sensitive to temperature and moisture source variability. Tropical records suggest precipitation variability is forced by orbital precession and North Atlantic Ocean circulation driven changes in atmospheric convection on long timescales, and tropical sea surface temperature variations on short timescales. On millennial timescales, precipitation seasonality in southwestern North America is related to North Atlantic climate variability. Great Basin speleothem records are closely linked with changes in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation. Although speleothems have revealed these critical global climate teleconnections, the paucity of continuous records precludes our ability to investigate climate drivers from the whole of Central and North America for the Pleistocene through modern. This underscores the need to improve spatial and temporal coverage of speleothem records across this climatically variable region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Open AccessReview
A Window into Africa’s Past Hydroclimates: The SISAL_v1 Database Contribution
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010004
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 31 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7171 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Africa spans the hemispheres from temperate region to temperate region and has a long history of hominin evolution. Although the number of Quaternary palaeoclimatic records from the continent is increasing, much of the history of spatial and temporal climatic variability is still debated. [...] Read more.
Africa spans the hemispheres from temperate region to temperate region and has a long history of hominin evolution. Although the number of Quaternary palaeoclimatic records from the continent is increasing, much of the history of spatial and temporal climatic variability is still debated. Speleothems, as archives of terrestrial hydroclimate variability, can help reveal this history. Here we review the progress made to date, with a focus on the first version of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis (SISAL) database. The geology of Africa has limited development of large karst regions to four areas: along the northern coast bordering the Mediterranean, eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa, southwestern Africa and southern Africa. Exploitation of the speleothem palaeoclimate archives in these regions is uneven, with long histories of research, e.g., in South Africa, but large areas with no investigations such as West Africa. Consequently, the evidence of past climate change reviewed here is irregularly sampled in both time and space. Nevertheless, we show evidence of migration of the monsoon belt, with enhanced rainfall during interglacials observed in northeast Africa, southern Arabia and the northern part of southern Africa. Evidence from eastern Africa indicates significant decadal and centennial scale rainfall variability. In northwestern and southern Africa, precession and eccentricity influence speleothem growth, largely through changing synoptic storm activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Open AccessReview
The Potential of Speleothems from Western Europe as Recorders of Regional Climate: A Critical Assessment of the SISAL Database
Quaternary 2018, 1(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1030030
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5351 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Western Europe is the region with the highest density of published speleothem δ18O (δ18Ospel) records worldwide. Here, we review these records in light of the recent publication of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis (SISAL) database. We [...] Read more.
Western Europe is the region with the highest density of published speleothem δ18O (δ18Ospel) records worldwide. Here, we review these records in light of the recent publication of the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis (SISAL) database. We investigate how representative the spatial and temporal distribution of the available records is for climate in Western Europe and review potential sites and strategies for future studies. We show that spatial trends in precipitation δ18O are mirrored in the speleothems, providing means to better constrain the factors influencing δ18Ospel at a specific location. Coherent regional δ18Ospel trends are found over stadial-interstadial transitions of the last glacial, especially in high altitude Alpine records, where this has been attributed to a strong temperature control of δ18Ospel. During the Holocene, regional trends are less clearly expressed, due to lower signal-to-noise ratios in δ18Ospel, but can potentially be extracted with the use of statistical methods. This first assessment highlights the potential of the European region for speleothem palaeoclimate reconstruction, while underpinning the importance of knowing local factors for a correct interpretation of δ18Ospel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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Open AccessReview
The Indian Summer Monsoon from a Speleothem δ18O Perspective—A Review
Quaternary 2018, 1(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat1030029
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (7598 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
As one of the most prominent seasonally recurring atmospheric circulation patterns, the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) plays a vital role for the life and livelihood of about one-third of the global population. Changes in the strength and seasonality of the ASM significantly affect [...] Read more.
As one of the most prominent seasonally recurring atmospheric circulation patterns, the Asian summer monsoon (ASM) plays a vital role for the life and livelihood of about one-third of the global population. Changes in the strength and seasonality of the ASM significantly affect the ASM region, yet the drivers of change and the varied regional responses of the ASM are not well understood. In the last two decades, there were a number of studies reconstructing the ASM using stalagmite-based proxies such as oxygen isotopes (δ18O). Such reconstructions allow examination of ASM drivers and responses, increasing monsoon predictability. In this review paper, we focus on stalagmite δ18O records from India at the proximal end of the ASM region. Indian stalagmite δ18O records show well-dated, high-amplitude changes in response to the dominant drivers of the ASM on orbital to multi-centennial timescales, and indicate the magnitude of monsoon variability in response to these drivers. We examine Indian stalagmite records collated in the Speleothem Isotope Synthesis and AnaLysis version 1 (SISAL_v1) database (http://researchdata.reading.ac.uk/139/) and support the database with a summary of record quality and regional climatic interpretations of the δ18O record during different climate states. We highlight current debates and suggest the most useful time periods (climatic events) and locations for further work using tools such as data-model comparisons, spectral analysis methods, multi-proxy investigations, and monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speleothem Records and Climate)
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