Emma May Rice


Peatlands in Southern South America (SSA), in the path of the Southern Westerly Wind belt (SWW), offer the potential of reliable palaeoclimate archives. This investigation aimed to test the late-Holocene climate signal related to variability of the SWW. Three sites were investigated: San Juan and Karukinka bog, southernmost Chile and San Carlos, a Sphagnum dominated bog, discovered in the Falkland Islands, to form a regional comparison. A multi-proxy approach was used, combining both palaeoecological and stable isotopic methods. At one site, Karukinka, intra-site replicability was tested across three profiles located along a microtopographical gradient. A low number of statistically significant correlations between proxies were evident. KAR-EM-1, the low-hummock profile, displayed the highest number of significant correlations, suggesting an optimal coring location. Chronological uncertainty in the high-hummock profile, KAR-EM-3, was the focus of discussion. Intra-site replicability between the palaeoecological records was improved by plotting the records against a ‘master chronology’, from the mid-hummock profile, KAR-EM-2, assuming a synchronous acrotelm-catotelm boundary across the profiles. The testate amoeba inferred depth to water table (WTD) reconstructions offered the highest intra-site coherence, while the stable isotope records suggested generally poor intra-site replicability. A semi-quantitative method of intra-site comparison was carried out which resulted in a number of climate scenarios. The inter-site comparison assessed correlations between the records from the three sites. A lack of significant correlations between the sites may have been due to regional climate variations and differences in the temporal resolution of the records. Robust climatic inferences were limited to the last 300 years. The WTD reconstructions displayed the highest inter-site coherence and suggested a drying trend after AD 1930 due to a southerly shift of the SWW. Late-Holocene climate variability was inferred from the palaeoecological records from Karukinka. Two periods were identified: a MCA period of generally wetter conditions (AD 750-1100) and a LIA period of overall drier conditions (~AD 1100-1900) during a southerly and northerly shifted SWW respectively, driven by solar variability and polar cell strengthening.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.