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Evaluating hydrological influences on mid-latitude δ18Op in the Middle East

Abstract

The oxygen isotope ratio of precipitation (δ18Op) in the mid-latitudes varies in response to multiple climate influences imposing significant challenges to the interpretation of climate proxies such as the oxygen isotope ratio of lake and speleothem calcite (δ18Oc) that incorporates an isotopic finger print of precipitation. This challenge is particularly acute for pre-historic time periods when climate forcings differed significantly from modern and consequently, internal feedbacks altered the transport of moisture as well as the rate of fractionation that determine the isotopic composition of atmospheric moisture. Here we investigate how δ18Op from the mid-Holocene was influenced by internal feedbacks in the Holocene with an isotope-enabled climate model that simulates the atmospheric response to changing boundary conditions and different climatic forcing. We find that δ18Op during the Mid-Holocene was lower than present day consistent with published proxy records. However, this lower value cannot be simply explained by basic isotope drivers such as precipitation amount or seasonality. Rather, we find that the combination of changes in local surface temperature, precipitation amount, upstream isotopic composition of vapor as well as the season can quantitatively explain the isotopic differences between the mid-Holocene and present day.

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Acknowledgements

Funding for NB was provided by the NOAA/CPO Climate Change and Detection Program: Paleoclimate Studies (Grant NA10OAR4310129), a grant from the National Science Foundation (award AGS-1049238), and a grant from the Aeronautics and Space Administration. Kei Yoshimura was supported by Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-12 and 2-1503) from Japanese Ministry of Environment, and Kakenhi Grants (15KK0199, 15H01729 and 16H06291) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. We would like to thank Luke Sollitt and Andrew Christensen for detailed reviews. Finally, special acknowledgement to Matt Jones for his detailed peer review.

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Correspondence to Justin Reuter.

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Reuter, J., Buenning, N. & Yoshimura, K. Evaluating hydrological influences on mid-latitude δ18Op in the Middle East. Clim Dyn 50, 3153–3170 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-3798-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-3798-3

Keywords

  • Paleoclimate
  • Isotope
  • Hydrology
  • Climate modeling
  • Water isotopes
  • Water cycle
  • Isotope hydrology