Abstracts on Global Climate Change

Jun 2007

Dominant factors controlling glacial and interglacial variations in the treeline elevation in tropical Africa

Wu, HB Guiot, J Brewer, S Guo, ZT Peng, CH


The knowledge of tropical palaeoclimates is crucial for understanding global climate change, because it is a test bench for general circulation models that are ultimately used to predict future global warming. A longstanding issue concerning the last glacial maximum in the tropics is the discrepancy between the decrease in sea-surface temperatures reconstructed from marine proxies and the high-elevation decrease in land temperatures estimated from indicators of treeline elevation. In this study, an improved inverse vegetation modeling approach is used to quantitatively reconstruct palaeoclimate and to estimate the effects of different factors (temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric CO2 concentration) on changes in treeline elevation based on a set of pollen data covering an altitudinal range from 100 to 3,140 m above sea level in Africa. We show that lowering of the African treeline during the last glacial maximum was primarily triggered by regional drying, especially at upper elevations, and was amplified by decreases in atmospheric CO2 concentration and perhaps temperature. This contrasts with scenarios for the Holocene and future climates, in which the increase in treeline elevation will be dominated by temperature. Our results suggest that previous temperature changes inferred from tropical treeline shifts may have been overestimated for low-CO2 glacial periods, because the limiting factors that control changes in treeline elevation differ between glacial and interglacial periods.

SPotGS:paleo | /neutral/paleo | 014

Eustasy and sea water Sr composition: application to high-resolution Sr-isotope stratigraphy of Miocene shallow-water carbonates

Kroeger, KF Reuter, M Forst, MH Breisig, S Hartmann, G Brachert, TC

SEDIMENTOLOGY 54:3 565-585

Oceanic Sr-87/Sr-86-isotope ratios are strongly influenced by rates of silicate weathering and therefore linked not only to glaciation but also to sea-level change. The present study combines analysis of sequence stratigraphy and basin architecture with Sr-isotope stratigraphy in Miocene shallow-water sediments in southern Portugal and Crete (Greece). The common method is to use smoothed global sea water Sr-isotope reference curves but here a different approach is chosen. Instead, measured Sr-isotope curves are correlated with unsmoothed reference curves by identification of similar fluctuations in the order of several 100 kyr. Transgressive intervals are characterized by increasing Sr-isotope ratios interpreted as corresponding to intensified silicate weathering as a consequence of deglaciation, while lowstand deposits have low Sr-isotope ratios. Comparison of Sr-isotope curves and sedimentary sequences in the studied basins with independent global delta O-18 data and data on global sea-level might suggest a general relationship, supporting a connection to global climate change. Because of these relationships, the method presented herein has a high potential for use in high-resolution age dating and is also applicable in shallow-water sediments.

SPotGS:paleo | /neutral/paleo | 024