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Glacial–interglacial temperature change in the tropical West Pacific: A comparison of stalagmite-based paleo-thermometers

Meckler, A. Nele and Affolter, Stéphane and Dublyansky, Yuri V. and Krüger, Yves and Vogel, Nadia and Bernasconi, Stefano M. and Frenz, Martin and Kipfer, Rolf and Leuenberger, Markus and Spötl, Christoph and Carolin, Stacy and Cobb, Kim M. and Moerman, Jessica and Adkins, Jess F. and Fleitmann, Dominik (2015) Glacial–interglacial temperature change in the tropical West Pacific: A comparison of stalagmite-based paleo-thermometers. Quaternary Science Reviews, 127 . pp. 90-116. ISSN 0277-3791.

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In the tropics, geochemical records from stalagmites have so far mainly been used to qualitatively reconstruct changes in precipitation, but several new methods to reconstruct past temperatures from stalagmite material have emerged recently: i) liquid–vapor homogenization of fluid inclusion water ii) noble gas concentrations in fluid inclusion water, iii) the partitioning of oxygen isotopes between fluid inclusion water and calcite, and iv) the abundance of the ^(13)C^(18)O^(16)O (‘clumped’) isotopologue in calcite. We present, for the first time, a direct comparison of these four paleo-thermometers by applying them to a fossil stalagmite covering nearly two glacial–interglacial cycles (Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 12–9) and to two modern stalagmites, all from northern Borneo. The temperature estimates from the different methods agree in most cases within errors for both the old and recent samples; reconstructed formation temperatures of the recent samples match within 2-sigma errors with measured cave temperatures. However, slight but systematic deviations are observed between noble gas and liquid–vapor homogenization temperatures. Whereas the temperature sensitivity of fluid inclusion δ^(18)O and clumped isotopes is currently debated, we find that the calibration of Tremaine et al. (2011) for fluid inclusion δ^(18)O and a synthetic calcite-based clumped isotope calibration (Ziegler et al., in prep.) yield temperature estimates consistent with the other methods. All methods (with the potential exception of clumped isotopes) show excellent agreement on the amplitude of glacial–interglacial temperature change, indicating temperature shifts of 4–5 °C. This amplitude is similar to the amplitude of Mg/Ca-based regional sea surface temperature records, when correcting for sea level driven changes in cave elevation. Our reconstruction of tropical temperature evolution over the time period from 440 to 320 thousand years ago (ka) adds support to the view that climate sensitivity to varying greenhouse forcing is substantial also in the deep tropics.

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Adkins, Jess F.0000-0002-3174-5190
Additional Information:© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Received 23 January 2015; Received in revised form 12 June 2015; Accepted 16 June 2015; Available online 3 July 2015. We thank Syria Lejau, Jenny Malang, Jud Partin, Andrew Tuen, and Brian Clark for assistance with fieldwork. Stewart Bishop, Madalina Jaggi, Isabel Millán, Sebastian Breitenbach, and Martin Ziegler helped with clumped isotope labwork and method development. We are grateful to Hagit Affek for providing standard data and discussing inter-laboratory differences. Rita Hidalgo contributed to homogenization temperature measurements. We thank the Royal Society SE Rainforest Research Programme for provision of the climatic data at Danum Valley Field Centre used in this paper. This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation through the Sinergia project StalClim (grant CRSI22_132646/1) and Marie-Heim-Vögtlin grant PMPDP2_139701 to ANM.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)CRSI22_132646/1
Subject Keywords:Speleothems; Quaternary; Tropics; Climate; Noble gases; Clumped isotopes; Fluid inclusions
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151210-071155702
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Official Citation:A. Nele Meckler, Stéphane Affolter, Yuri V. Dublyansky, Yves Krüger, Nadia Vogel, Stefano M. Bernasconi, Martin Frenz, Rolf Kipfer, Markus Leuenberger, Christoph Spötl, Stacy Carolin, Kim M. Cobb, Jessica Moerman, Jess F. Adkins, Dominik Fleitmann, Glacial–interglacial temperature change in the tropical West Pacific: A comparison of stalagmite-based paleo-thermometers, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 127, 1 November 2015, Pages 90-116, ISSN 0277-3791, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62762
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:10 Dec 2015 21:02
Last Modified:24 Feb 2020 10:30

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