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Drought modulated by North Atlantic sea surface temperatures for the last 3,000 years along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico

TitleDrought modulated by North Atlantic sea surface temperatures for the last 3,000 years along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLivsey D., Simms A.R, Hangsterfer A., Nisbet R.A, DeWitt R.
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Date Published2016/03
Type of ArticleReview
ISBN Number0277-3791
Accession NumberWOS:000372376200004
Keywordsamerican drought; Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation; drought; holocene; holocene climate; luminescence; Machine learning; reconstructions; record; regenerative-dose protocol; sediments; single; Texas; united-states; variability; XRF

In 2012 the most severe United States drought since the 1930's occurred, highlighting the need for a better understanding of the climate factors driving droughts. Spatial-temporal analysis of United States precipitation data from 1900 to 1999 indicates that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) primarily modulates drought frequency. Tree rings provide the highest resolution and most spatially distributed drought records beyond secular time-series; however, as most tree-ring records only extend to ca. 1000 years before present (BP), a new broadly distributed, quantitative, multi-millennial, proxy of past drought is needed to determine if the AMO modulated drought across North America through the late Holocene. In this study, we develop a new quantitative drought proxy from a transfer function between X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) derived elemental data from a Texas playa and a tree-ring drought record. Using this transfer function, a 954-year tree-ring drought record was extended to ca. 3000 BR Changes in the extended drought record correspond with timing of the Roman Climate Optimum, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and changes in the AMO as recorded in a proxy record derived from North Atlantic ice-rafted debris. These results indicate that lacustrine-derived XRF element data can be used as a quantitative tool to reconstruct past drought records, and suggest that AMO modulated drought in southern Texas for the last 3000 years. Additional studies using XRF-derived element data as a drought proxy are needed to determine the utility of this proxy in non-playa lacustrine systems. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Short TitleQuat. Sci. Rev.
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