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Rainfall driven variations in δ13C and wood anatomy of Breonadia salicina trees from South Africa between AD1375 and 1995
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geology and Geochemistry.
2005 (English)In: South African Journal of Science, ISSN 0038-2353, E-ISSN 1996-7489, Vol. 101, no 3/4, p. 162-168Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study demonstrates the potential of deriving palaeoenvironmental information from carbon isotope composition (δ<sup>13</sup>C) and wood anatomy properties along the growth radii of two Breonadia salicina trees from Limpopo province, South Africa. An age model, based on AMS dating and 'wiggle-match' dating of the wood, shows that the data series from the two trees span AD 1375-1995 and 1447-1994, respectively. Shifts in the trees' δ<sup>13</sup>C composition and wood anatomy resemble the indications of climate change observed in regional palaeoclimatic studies, and the parts of the B. salicina record from the last century show similarities with the observed variations in annual rainfall in the region. We propose that changes in carbon isotope composition and wood anatomy indicate variations in regional rainfall during the period of tree growth. Both the δ<sup>13</sup>C and the wood anatomy records of B. salicina signify dry conditions in the early 1400s, mid-1500s, 1700s and early 1900s. The wettest conditions were during the late 1400s and in the 1600s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 101, no 3/4, p. 162-168
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24703OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24703DiVA, id: diva2:198145
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7375Available from: 2008-02-25 Created: 2008-02-15 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Late Quaternary climate and environmental change in the summer rainfall region of South Africa: A study using trees and wetland peat cores as natural archives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Late Quaternary climate and environmental change in the summer rainfall region of South Africa: A study using trees and wetland peat cores as natural archives
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis contributes with information on past climate and environmental changes in South Africa’s summer rainfall region. The study is based on multi-proxy analyses on wetland peat cores and analyses of stable isotope composition (δ13C, δ18O) and wood anatomy in cross sections from subtropical trees (Breonadia salicina). The peat archive covers the last 16 ka (ka; 1000 cal yrs BP) and was analysed in terms of fossil pollen, charcoal, diatoms, phytoliths and stable isotope composition. The peat record infers relatively wet climate conditions at c. 13.7-12.8 ka, 10.5-9.5 ka and 2.5-0.5 ka, and drier conditions at c. 16-13.7 ka, 12.8-10.5 ka and during mid-Holocene. Tentatively, cooler late Pleistocene temperatures shifted towards warmer after c. 9.5 ka. The study of B. salicina demonstrates the paleo-climatic value of subtropical trees despite absence of annual tree rings. An age model was constructed from radiocarbon dating and calibration by wiggle matching. δ13C in B. salicina shows a co-variation with annual rainfall amounts, suggesting that it may be considered a regional climate-proxy. δ18O is mainly influenced by local factors, but acts as a useful complement when interpreting δ13C. Together with other regional, high-resolution records, the 600 year long δ13C-record suggests dry climate conditions in northern South Africa during the 1700s and mid-1500s AD. Inferred climate and environmental changes are suggested being a response to expansion, contraction and latitudinal shifts of the tropical, subtropical and mid-latitude atmospheric circulation cells. An observed inverse humidity pattern between southern and equatorial Africa suggests that ENSO-like teleconnections may be a possible forcing mechanism in a decadal to centennial time perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för naturgeografi och kvartärgeologi, 2008. p. 108
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 11
Keywords
paleoclimate, Late Quaternary, pollen, stable isotopes, diatoms, phytoliths, dendroclimatology, South Africa
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7375 (URN)978-91-7155-581-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-03-17, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-02-25 Created: 2008-02-15 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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