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Analyses of sediments, diatoms, and pollen in a 12.65-m-long sediment core taken from Lake Carpenter in the central Puget Lowland, Washington, provide detailed information regarding the history of deglaciation and late-glacial/early Holocene sea-level changes. The lake outlet, now 8.2 m above sea level, has been lowered 1-1.5 m by postglacial erosion. The lithology and pollen record suggest that no lengthy hiatuses in sedimentation have occurred. The basal sediments are glacialmarine and contain shell fragments and brackish/marine diatoms. Freshwater sediments above the basal section are interrupted only by a short section containing few fossils, most of which are brackish to marine indicators, and by the Mazama tephra at 9.5 m. The pollen record in the basal 4 m reveals a Pinus zone (ca. 13,850-11,000 yr B.P.) with a brief peak of Picea at ca. 13,700 yr B.P., and an Alnus/Pseudotsuga zone (ca. 11,000-6500 yr B.P.). The chronology is based on nine radiocarbon ages. A relative lowering of sea level below the 9.5-m threshold is recorded in the core at 12.41 m and dates 13,850 to 13,700 yr B.P. A marine episode occurred about 13,600 yr B.P., implying that relative sea-level temporarily rose above 9.5 m. No subsequent transgressions above the 9.5-m level have been recorded. Comparison of six radiocarbon dates ≥13,600 yr B.P. suggest that the marine reservoir correction of 760 yr currently used for this area may be too high for this time period.
Radiocarbon-dated marine sediments from five coastal sites along the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel in southernmost Chile permit construction of a curve of relative sea-level fluctuations during the Holocene. Morphologic and stratigraphic data point to coastal submergence during the early Holocene as the sea rose to a maximum level at least 3.5 m higher than present about 5000 yr ago. Progressive emergence then followed during the late Holocene. Data from widely separated localities define a smooth curve, the form of which is explainable in terms of isostatic and hydroisostatic deformation of the crust resulting from changing ice and water loads. Apparently anomalous data from one site located more than 100 km behind the outer limit of the last glaciation may reflect isostatic response to deglaciation. The sea-level curve resembles one derived by Clark and Bloom (1979, In “Proceedings of the 1978 International Symposium on Coastal Evolution in the Quaternary, Sao Paulo, Brasil,” pp. 41–60. Sao Paulo) using a spherical Earth model, both in amplitude and in the timing of the maximum submergence.
High-resolution paleomonsoon proxy records from peat and eolian sand–paleosol sequences at the desert–loess transition zone in China denote a rapid oscillation from cold–dry conditions (11,200–10,600 14C yr B.P.) to cool–humid conditions (10,600–10,200 14C yr B.P.), followed by a return to cold–dry climate (10,200–10,000 14C yr B.P.). Variations in precipitation proxies suggest that significant climatic variability occurred in monsoonal eastern Asia during the Younger Dryas interval. Late-glacial climate in the Chinese desert–loess belt that lies downwind from Europe was strongly influenced by cold air from high latitudes and from the North Atlantic via the westerlies. The inferred precipitation variations were likely caused by variations in the strength of the Siberian high, which influenced the pressure gradient between land and ocean and therefore influenced the position of the East Asian monsoon front.
The 18O/16O profile of a 554-m long ice core through Taylor Dome, Antarctica, shows the climate variability of the last glacial–interglacial cycle in detail and extends at least another full cycle. Taylor Dome shares the main features of the Vostok record, including the early climatic optimum with later cool phase of the last interglacial period in Antarctica. Taylor Dome δ18O fluctuations are more abrupt and larger than those at Vostok and Byrd Station, although still less pronounced than those of the Greenland GISP2 and GRIP records. The influence of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation on regional ocean heat transport explains the partly “North Atlantic” character of this Antarctic record. Under full glacial climate (marine isotope stage 4, late stage 3, and stage 2), this marine influence diminished and Taylor Dome became more like Vostok. Varying degrees of marine influence produce climate heterogeneity within Antarctica, which may account for conflicting evidence regarding the relative phasing of Northern and Southern Hemisphere climate change.
Lateral drift sheets of outlet glaciers that pass through the Transantarctic Mountains constrain past changes of the huge Ross ice drainage system of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Drift stratigraphy suggests correlation of Reedy III (Reedy Glacier), Beardmore (Beardmore Glacier), Britannia (Hatherton/Darwin Glaciers), Ross Sea (McMurdo Sound), and “younger” (Terra Nova Bay) drifts; radiocarbon dates place the outer limits of Ross Sea drift in late Wisconsin time at 24,000–13,000 yr B.P. Outlet-glacier profiles from these drifts constrain late Wisconsin ice-sheet surface elevations. Within these constraints, we give two extreme late Wisconsin reconstructions of the Ross ice drainage system. Both show little elevation change of the polar plateau coincident with extensive ice-shelf grounding along the inner Ross Embayment. However, in the central Ross Embayment one reconstruction shows floating shelf ice, whereas the other shows a grounded ice sheet. Massive late Wisconsin/Holocene recession of grounded ice from the western Ross Embayment, which was underway at 13,040 yr B.P. and completed by 6600-6020 yr B.P., was accompanied by little change in plateau ice levels inland of the Transantarctic Mountains. Sea level and basal melting probably controlled the extent of grounded ice in the Ross Embayment. The interplay between the precipitation (low late Wisconsin and high Holocene values) and the influence of grounding on outlet glaciers (late Wisconsin thickening and late Wisconsin/Holocene thinning, with effects dying out inland) probably controlled minor elevation changes of the polar plateau.
Late-glacial and Holocene 14C/12C ratios of atmospheric CO2 vary in magnitude from a few per mil for annual/decadal pertubations to more than 10% for events lasting millennia. A data set illuminating 10- to 104-yr variability refines our understanding of oceanic (climatic) versus geomagnetic or solar forcing of atmospheric 14C/12C ratios. Most of the variance in the Holocene atmospheric 14C/12C record can be attributed to the geomagnetic (millennia time scale) and solar (century time scale) influence on the flux of primary cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. Attributing the observed atmospheric 14C/12C changes to climate alone leads to ocean circulation and/or global wind speed changes incompatible with proxy records. Climate-(ocean-)related 14C redistribution between carbon reservoirs, while evidently playing a minor role during the Holocene, may have perturbed atmospheric 14C/12C ratios measurably during the late-glacial Younger Dryas event. First-order corrections to the radiocarbon time scale (12,000–30,000 14C yr B.P.) are calculated from adjusted lake-sediment and tree-ring records and from geomagnetically defined model 14C histories. Paleosunspot numbers (100–9700 cal yr B.P.) are derived from the relationship of model 14C production rates to sunspot observations. The spectral interpretation of the 14C/12C atmospheric record favors higher than average solar activity levels for the next century. Minimal evidence was found for a sun-weather relationship.
Former longitudinal profiles of Hatherton Glacier, an outlet through the Transantarctic Mountains, constrain nearby polar plateau elevations and ice-shelf grounding in the southwestern Ross Embayment. Four gravel drift sheets of late Quaternary age beside Hatherton Glacier are, from youngest to oldest, Hatherton, Britannia I, Britannia II, and Danum. The Hatherton drift limit is uniformly 20 to 70 m above the present ice surface. The Britannia II drift limit is within 100 m of the present surface of uppermost Hatherton Glacier but is 450 m above middle Hatherton Glacier. Extrapolation of this profile downglacier indicates a surface elevation 1100 m above the present Ross Ice Shelf. The Britannia I drift limit is parallel to, but 50–100 m below, Britannia II drift. The Danum drift limit is parallel to, but 50–100 m above, the Britannia II profile. From correlation with drifts near McMurdo Sound and from local 14C dates, we assign an early Holocene age to Hatherton drift, a late Wisconsin age to Britannia drifts, and an age of marine isotope Stage 6 to Danum drift. By our age model, the upper reaches of Hatherton Glacier (and presumably the adjacent polar plateau) have not exceeded their current elevations by more than 100–150 m during the last two complete global glacial-interglacial cycles, whereas the middle and lower reaches of Hatherton Glacier have thickened considerably during the last two global glaciations (late Wisconsin and marine isotope Stage 6). The effect of ice-shelf grounding probably was the major control of these changes of Hatherton Glacier. Holocene ice-surface lowering probably represents the last pulse of grounding-line recession in the southwestern Ross Embayment.
The Ross Ice Shelf δ18O profile at station J-9 covers at least the last 30,000 yr. It identifies the depth in the core of ice from (i) the last glacial-interglacial transition (266 to 286 m) and (ii) the 1000-m surface elevation (about 140 m). Various processes contribute to the δ18O change observed in the core: (i) climatic warming, mainly caused by a decrease in winter sea ice extent around Antarctica of about 6° latitude early in the glacial-interglacial transition, (ii) decreasing ice sheet thickness later in the glacial-interglacial transition and during the Holocene, and (iii) decreases in elevation and effective distance from the open ocean as the source of the ice in the core shifts along the flow line toward J-9. Average δ18O values of the last 3000 yr imply a fairly stable climate. Yet shorter (102 to 103 yr) δ18O climatic oscillations up to 6‰ are seen in both the Holocene and the glacial portion of the record.
Measured 18O/16O ratios from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) ice core extending back to 16,500 cal yr B.P. provide a continuous record of climate change since the last glaciation. High-resolution annual 18O/16O results were obtained for most of the current millennium (A.D. 818-1985) and record the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, and a distinct 11-yr 18O/16O cycle. Volcanic aerosols depress central Greenland annual temperature (∼1.5°C maximally) and annual 18O/16O for about 4 yr after each major eruptive event. On a bidecadal to millennial time scale, the contribution of solar variability to Holocene Greenlandic temperature change is ∼0.4°C. The role of thermohaline circulation change on climate, problematic during the Holocene, is more distinct for the 16,500-10,000 cal yr B.P. interval. (Analogous to 14C age calibration terminology, we express time in calibrated (cal) yr B.P. (A.D. 1950 = 0 cal yr B.P.)). The Oldest Dryas/Bølling/Older Dryas/Allerød/Younger Dryas sequence appears in great detail. Bidecadal variance in 18O/16O, but not necessarily in temperature, is enhanced during the last phase of lateglacial time and the Younger Dryas interval, suggesting switches of air mass transport between jet stream branches. The branched system is nearly instantaneously replaced at the beginning of the Bølling and Holocene (at ∼14,670 and ∼11,650 cal yr B.P., respectively) by an atmospheric circulation system in which 18O/16O and annual accumulation initially track each other closely. Thermodynamic considerations of the accumulation rate-temperature relationship can be used to evaluate the 18 O/16O-temperature relationship. The GISP2 ice-layer-count years of major GISP2 climate transitions also support the use of coral 14C ages for age calibration.
The GISP2 oxygen isotope record, with its high-resolution detail, yields crucial information on past climate change. The glacial δ18O oscillations of the GISP2 core, with their very fast onsets, are templates of a prototype oscillation of variable duration with an amplitude of 3.9‰. The halfway mark of the cold–warm transition is reached in 2 years; the top is reached in 50 years. The δ18O–time gradient of the leading front is about 7.8‰ per 100 yr. After reaching the top, δ18O slowly declines by −0.14‰ per 100 yr. The duration of δ18O decline varies from a couple of centuries for fast oscillations to about 4000 yr for slower ones. The subsequent δ18O downturn during the warm–cold transition has a δ18O–time gradient of −3.2‰ per 100 yr and lasts about 80 yr.
Several factors influence the long-term 13C record of the organic component in lake sediments. Two of the more predominant ones are changes in hardness of the water and changes in organic productivity. In general, during colder climatic episodes, 13C values are lower. Of 12 lakes studied, 4 have 13C records with large changes in 13C content that are to a certain degree correlative with climatic changes.
Some tentative ideas concerning correlations between solar radiation, gravity, and geomagnetism are given. It is suggested that long-term gravitational effects, associated with planetary configurations, may cause variable solar output.
A celebration is in order: the journal Radiocarbon is now a mature 50 years without drastic changes in its identity. There have been, of course, additions in terms of specific isotopes (it is now an international journal of cosmogenic isotope research), but the 14C content is still very extensive. The triannual offshoots, conference proceedings (started in 1980), and calibration issues (the first in 1986) testify to the strength of the 14C component.
New radiocarbon calibration curves, IntCal04 and Marine04, have been constructed and internationally ratified to replace the terrestrial and marine components of IntCal98. The new calibration data sets extend an additional 2000 yr, from 0–26 cal kyr BP (Before Present, 0 cal BP = AD 1950), and provide much higher resolution, greater precision, and more detailed structure than IntCal98. For the Marine04 curve, dendrochronologically-dated tree-ring samples, converted with a box diffusion model to marine mixed-layer ages, cover the period from 0–10.5 cal kyr BP. Beyond 10.5 cal kyr BP, high-resolution marine data become available from foraminifera in varved sediments and U/Th-dated corals. The marine records are corrected with site-specific 14C reservoir age information to provide a single global marine mixed-layer calibration from 10.5–26.0 cal kyr BP. A substantial enhancement relative to IntCal98 is the introduction of a random walk model, which takes into account the uncertainty in both the calendar age and the 14C age to calculate the underlying calibration curve (Buck and Blackwell, this issue). The marine data sets and calibration curve for marine samples from the surface mixed layer (Marine04) are discussed here. The tree-ring data sets, sources of uncertainty, and regional offsets are presented in detail in a companion paper by Reimer et al. (this issue).
The first meeting of the IntCal04 working group took place at Queen's University Belfast from April 15 to 17, 2002. The participants are listed as co-authors of this report. The meeting considered criteria for the acceptance of data into the next official calibration dataset, the importance of including reliable estimates of uncertainty in both the radiocarbon ages and the cal ages, and potential methods for combining datasets. This preliminary report summarizes the criteria that were discussed, but does not yet give specific recommendations for inclusion or exclusion of individual datasets.
The World Ocean Circulation Experiment, carried out between 1990 and 1997, provided the most comprehensive oceanic survey of radiocarbon to date. Approximately 10,000 samples were collected in the Pacific Ocean by U.S. investigators for both conventional large volume p counting and small volume accelerator mass spectrometry analysis techniques. Results from six cruises are presented. The data quality is as good or better than previous large-scale surveys. The 14C distribution for the entire WOCE Pacific data set is graphically described using mean vertical profiles and sections, and property-property plots.
Various applications of carbon isotope (13C and 14C) records are described. The main data sources are dendrochronologically dated tree rings, ice cores, and ocean sediments (including corals). The representativeness and characteristics of these records are discussed. The history of atmospheric 14C changes is determined by changes in oceanic upwelling rate and by solar and geomagnetic influences on upper atmosphere production rate. Separating these causal factors from the record is difficult, but analyses suggest interesting cyclic changes in North Atlantic deep water formation rates (periodicity around 500 years) and solar output (periodicity around 200 years). Isotopic data have provided valuable oceanic information regarding the current atmosphere-to-ocean flux of CO2, deep water residence times, current upwelling rates, and glacial/interglacial changes in upwelling rate. This work is discussed and evaluated. Finally, the problems involved in interpreting radiocarbon dates in terms of calibrated (i.e., estimated calendar) dates are illustrated using the dating of the Mazama (U.S. Pacific Northwest) eruption as an example.
Natural carbon contains the three carbon isotopes 12C, 13C, and 14C. Of these isotopes, 12C is by far the most abundant at 98.9% of total carbon. Thus, the carbon cycle in nature is essentially a 12C cycle, with 13C (1.1%) and 14C (10–10%) contributing only minor amounts. Nevertheless, 13C and 14C play a major role as tracers through which information on the physical and chemical properties of the carbon cycle can be obtained.