Pollen-based evidence of extreme drought during the last glacial (32.6-9.0 ka) in coastal Southern California

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doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.08.029
Author(s): Heusser, Linda E.; Kirby, Matthew E.; Nichols, Jonathan E.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
California State University, Fullerton, United States
Volume Title: Quaternary Science Reviews
Source: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol.126, p.242-253. Publisher: Elsevier, International. ISSN: 0277-3791
Note: In English. 91 refs.; illus., incl. 1 table, sketch map
Summary: High resolution pollen analyses of sediment core LEDC10-1 from Lake Elsinore yield the first well-dated, terrestrial record of sub-centennial-scale ecologic change in coastal southern California between ∼32 and 9 ka. In the Lake Elsinore watershed, the initial, mesic montane conifer forests dominated by Pinus, and Cupressaceae with trace amounts of Abies and Picea were replaced by a sequence of multiple, extended severe mega-droughts between ∼27.5 and ∼25.5 ka, in which halophytic and xerophytic herbs and shrubs occupied an ephemeral lake. This prolonged and extended dry interval, which corresponds with warm waters offshore, imply strengthening of the North Pacific High and persistent below-average winter precipitation. The subsequent, contrasting monotonic occurrence of montane conifers reflects little variation in cold, mesic climate until ∼15 ka. Postglacial development of Quercus woodland and chaparral mark the return to more xeric, warmer conditions at this time. A brief reversal at ∼13.1-∼12.1 ka, as reflected by an expansion of Pinus, is correlative with the Younger Dryas and interrupts development of warm, postglacial climate. Subsequent gradual expansion of xeric vegetation post - Younger Dryas denotes the establishment of a winter hydroclimate regime in coastal southern California that is more similar to modern conditions. Pollen-based reconstructions of temperature and precipitation at Lake Elsinore are generally correlative with pollen-based paleoclimatic reconstructions and foraminifera-based sea surface temperatures from Santa Barbara Basin in marine core ODP 893. The conspicuous absence of the ∼27.5-∼25.5 ka glacial "mega-drought" in the Santa Barbara Basin pollen record highlights the sensitivity of Lake Elsinore to hydroclimate change, and thus, the importance of this new record that indicates that mega-drought can occur during the full glacial when climatic boundary conditions and forcings differed substantially from the present. Abstract Copyright (2015) Elsevier, B.V.
Year of Publication: 2015
Key Words: 03 Geochronology; 24 Surficial Geology, Quaternary Geology; Absolute age; Biostratigraphy; C-14; California; Carbon; Cenozoic; Chronostratigraphy; Climate change; Cores; Dates; Drought; Isotopes; Lacustrine environment; Lake Elsinore; Lake sediments; Lithostratigraphy; Microfossils; Miospores; Paleoclimatology; Paleoecology; Paleohydrology; Palynomorphs; Pollen; Quaternary; Radioactive isotopes; Reconstruction; Riverside County California; Sediments; Southern California; United States; Upper Quaternary; Vegetation
Coordinates: N333900 N333900 W1172100 W1172100
Record ID: 2017031327
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from CAPCAS, Elsevier Scientific Publishers, Amsterdam, Netherlands