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Spatial variation of hydroclimate in north-eastern North America during the last millennium

Spatial variation of hydroclimate in north-eastern North America during the last millennium
Spatial variation of hydroclimate in north-eastern North America during the last millennium
Climatic expressions of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and the Little Ice Age (LIA) vary regionally, with reconstructions often depicting complex spatial patterns of temperature and precipitation change. The characterisation of these spatial patterns helps advance understanding of hydroclimate variability and associated responses of human and natural systems to climate change. Many regions, including north-eastern North America, still lack well-resolved records of past hydrological change. Here, we reconstruct hydroclimatic change over the past millennium using testate amoeba-inferred peatland water table depth reconstructions obtained from fifteen peatlands across Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Québec. Spatial comparisons of reconstructed water table depths reveal complex hydroclimatic patterns that varied over the last millennium. The records suggest a spatially divergent pattern across the region during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age. Southern peatlands were wetter during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, whilst northern and more continental sites were drier. There is no evidence at the multi-decadal sampling resolution of this study to indicate that Medieval mega-droughts recorded in the west and continental interior of North America extended to these peatlands in the north-east of the continent. Reconstructed Little Ice Age hydroclimate change was spatially variable rather than displaying a clear directional shift or latitudinal trends, which may relate to local temporary permafrost aggradation in northern sites, and reconstructed characteristics of some dry periods during the Little Ice Age are comparable with those reconstructed during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. The spatial hydroclimatic trends identified here suggest that over the last millennium, peatland moisture balance in north-eastern North America has been influenced by changes in the Polar Jet Stream, storm activities and sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic as well as internal peatland dynamics.
0277-3791
Mackay, Helen
483b07c4-6dbb-49f9-abe5-b68aaa99e1f6
Amesbury, Matthew
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Langdon, Peter
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Charman, Dan J.
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Magnan, Gabriel
989fbe42-a3f3-40b9-a560-c2db203ffbaf
van Bellen, Simon
791e58f7-cf37-42a9-bee5-65dce3d9b863
Garneau, Michelle
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Bainbridge, Rupert
ca48b911-9f67-412b-8252-7cac053c535d
Hughes, Paul D.M.
d222405c-e06e-4f7d-99c6-bb5a0e799418
Mackay, Helen
483b07c4-6dbb-49f9-abe5-b68aaa99e1f6
Amesbury, Matthew
d6d8aaa4-f42e-4db7-82d1-19922ab718f1
Langdon, Peter
95b97671-f9fe-4884-aca6-9aa3cd1a6d7f
Charman, Dan J.
27b5f4e7-8c1f-4f2c-a0dd-10b6b69c9490
Magnan, Gabriel
989fbe42-a3f3-40b9-a560-c2db203ffbaf
van Bellen, Simon
791e58f7-cf37-42a9-bee5-65dce3d9b863
Garneau, Michelle
3c5bd5e9-a326-476a-a5aa-e80c8db8ae34
Bainbridge, Rupert
ca48b911-9f67-412b-8252-7cac053c535d
Hughes, Paul D.M.
d222405c-e06e-4f7d-99c6-bb5a0e799418

Mackay, Helen, Amesbury, Matthew, Langdon, Peter, Charman, Dan J., Magnan, Gabriel, van Bellen, Simon, Garneau, Michelle, Bainbridge, Rupert and Hughes, Paul D.M. (2021) Spatial variation of hydroclimate in north-eastern North America during the last millennium. Quaternary Science Reviews, 256, [106813]. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106813).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Climatic expressions of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and the Little Ice Age (LIA) vary regionally, with reconstructions often depicting complex spatial patterns of temperature and precipitation change. The characterisation of these spatial patterns helps advance understanding of hydroclimate variability and associated responses of human and natural systems to climate change. Many regions, including north-eastern North America, still lack well-resolved records of past hydrological change. Here, we reconstruct hydroclimatic change over the past millennium using testate amoeba-inferred peatland water table depth reconstructions obtained from fifteen peatlands across Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Québec. Spatial comparisons of reconstructed water table depths reveal complex hydroclimatic patterns that varied over the last millennium. The records suggest a spatially divergent pattern across the region during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age. Southern peatlands were wetter during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, whilst northern and more continental sites were drier. There is no evidence at the multi-decadal sampling resolution of this study to indicate that Medieval mega-droughts recorded in the west and continental interior of North America extended to these peatlands in the north-east of the continent. Reconstructed Little Ice Age hydroclimate change was spatially variable rather than displaying a clear directional shift or latitudinal trends, which may relate to local temporary permafrost aggradation in northern sites, and reconstructed characteristics of some dry periods during the Little Ice Age are comparable with those reconstructed during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. The spatial hydroclimatic trends identified here suggest that over the last millennium, peatland moisture balance in north-eastern North America has been influenced by changes in the Polar Jet Stream, storm activities and sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic as well as internal peatland dynamics.

Text
Mackay et al. QSR_Sept 2020_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 12 February 2022.
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Accepted/In Press date: 16 January 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 February 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446684
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446684
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: c0f34a6a-9d9b-48aa-80cc-eea95a331d3d
ORCID for Peter Langdon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2724-2643

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Date deposited: 17 Feb 2021 17:35
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 16:49

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Contributors

Author: Helen Mackay
Author: Matthew Amesbury
Author: Peter Langdon ORCID iD
Author: Dan J. Charman
Author: Gabriel Magnan
Author: Simon van Bellen
Author: Michelle Garneau
Author: Rupert Bainbridge
Author: Paul D.M. Hughes

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