Climate variability over the last two millennia in the North American Monsoon region, recorded in laminated lake sediments from Laguna de Juanacatlán, Mexico

S. E. Metcalfe, M. D. Jones, S. J. Davies, A. Noren, A. MacKenzie

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73 Scopus citations

Abstract

High-resolution titanium (Ti) data obtained using an ITRAX XRF core scanner from a laminated sediment core from the Laguna de Juanacatlán, western central Mexico yield a unique high-resolution record of runoff (precipitation) change for the last 2000 years. In the absence of reliable, long-term meteorological records, comparison of the Ti data with information from the rich Spanish colonial period archives and the post-Independence period, confirms that Ti is a proxy for runoff. This interpretation is supported by comparison with other high-resolution archives from the surrounding region, primarily tree rings and other lake sediment sequences. The Juanacatlán Ti record is therefore a proxy for summer, monsoonal rainfall. The record provides new evidence from the Pacific margin of tropical North America of the occurrence of dry conditions through much of the Classic period (c. AD 300-900), and wetter conditions during the later Medieval period (c. AD 1200-1350). The period commonly known as the 'Little Ice Age' (LIA) shows considerable variability, with dry conditions in the early part (c. AD 1400-1600) and wetter conditions, punctuated by multiyear droughts through the eighteenth century. A notable feature of the record is the apparent decoupling of lacustrine sedimentation from the climate since the mid-twentieth century, possibly resulting from anthropogenic disturbance. Preliminary interpretations of the Ti record indicate that patterns are consistent with changes in monsoon strength associated with ENSO and solar forcing over the last two millennia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1195-1206
Number of pages12
JournalHolocene
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • drought
  • laminated sediments
  • Mexico
  • monsoon
  • runoff
  • titanium

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