Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 365–394 | Cite as

Glaciolacustrine varved sediment as an alpine hydroclimatic proxy

  • K. R. HodderEmail author
  • R. Gilbert
  • J. R. Desloges
Original Paper


The physical significance of a negative correlation between a varve record from Mud Lake, British Columbia, and temperature is discussed in the context of a process-network. The process-network is defined as the system of temporally and spatially connected processes involved in the transfer of a signal from climate to varved glaciolacustrine sediment. The six systems defining the network include climate, glacier, fluvial, geomorphic, terrestrial biologic and lacustrine systems to which each process belongs. A literature review outlines significant variation in the strength and character of correlations between components of the process-network and highlights that more comprehensive interpretations of varves as a hydroclimatic proxy require an improved understanding of the process-network. Documenting each process in the network is integral to informing a more complete model of this system, identifying processes that constitute signal transfer and assessing hydroclimatic proxies based on linear correlation. Such documentation is of growing importance as varved lacustrine sediments are increasingly used as a hydroclimatic proxy. The complex nature of the process-network requires greater emphasis on interdisciplinary cooperation and alternative methods to the linear statistical model.


Varves Hydroclimatic proxy Correlation Complexity 



This work was supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to J.R. Desloges and R. Gilbert. The authors gratefully acknowledge field and laboratory assistance from K. Buckeridge, D. Mazzuchi and B. Wohlfarth. S.F. Lamoureux provided helpful guidance during developmental stages of this work. Comments on an early draft of this manuscript by K. O’Brien and E. Schiefer, in addition to formal reviews by J.J. Clague, W.M. Last and an anonymous reviewer, improved our work.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyQueen’s University KingstonKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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