A 900-year record of effective moisture in the Laurentian Great Lakes region

R.M. Doyle, Zijun Liu, Jacob Thomas Walker, Ryan Hladyniuk, Katrina Ann Moser, Fred John Longstaffe

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The (Laurentian) Great Lakes region (GLR) of North America contains ∼20% of the world's freshwater by total area. Yet, the water quantity and quality of lakes in this region are threatened by water level fluctuations and excessive algal growth associated with climate warming. To understand the mechanisms that drive these changes, we have established a 900-year history of environmental change using sediments from a small kettle lake, Barry Lake, located within the GLR. To understand how water quantity changed over time, we used stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon in marl to reconstruct effective moisture. Our reconstruction for Barry Lake shows that the Little Ice Age (LIA) was wetter than present, whereas the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) was drier than present. There is considerable spatiotemporal variation in effective moisture across the GLR and northeastern (NE) USA. This variation may reflect changes in the sign of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which can alter moisture delivery by modifying the strength and position of the polar and subtropical jet streams. To identify changes in water quality, we reconstructed primary production using sedimentary chlorophyll a (Chl-a(s)) contents and stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in organic matter. There was relatively little change until the last 150 years, revealing that shifts in effective moisture did not noticeably influence primary production. Rather, primary production was impacted by anthropogenic pressures such as land use change and associated increases in nutrient delivery. Our research contextualizes recent threats to water quantity and quality in the GLR against a backdrop of environmental change, while also synthesizing hydroclimate records from across this region and the NE USA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107174
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume270
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank George and Kathy Archer for access to Barry Lake, and Avner Ayalon, Amanda Philavong, Maria Sia and Carolyn Hill for assistance with core collection. We are also grateful to Kim Law, Grace Yau and Li Huang of the Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science (LSIS) at the University of Western Ontario for assistance with stable isotope analysis, and Erika Hill at the Lake and Reservoir Systems Research Facility (LARS) for assistance with the measurement of magnetic susceptibility. We also thank the A.E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory at the University of Ottawa for radiocarbon dates, and Linda Kimpe at the University of Ottawa's Laboratory for the Analysis of Natural and Synthetic Environmental Toxins (LANSET) for the 210 Pb dating. We are also grateful to the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Queen's University for assistance with the analyses of Chl-a (s) concentrations, and Karen Van Kerkoerle from the University of Western Ontario with help with designing graphics. Funding was provided by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant (FJL), an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (RD), the Canada Research Chairs Program (FJL), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (FJL) and the Ontario Research Fund (FJL). This is LSIS contribution #361.

Funding Information:
We thank George and Kathy Archer for access to Barry Lake, and Avner Ayalon, Amanda Philavong, Maria Sia and Carolyn Hill for assistance with core collection. We are also grateful to Kim Law, Grace Yau and Li Huang of the Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science (LSIS) at the University of Western Ontario for assistance with stable isotope analysis, and Erika Hill at the Lake and Reservoir Systems Research Facility (LARS) for assistance with the measurement of magnetic susceptibility. We also thank the A.E. Lalonde AMS Laboratory at the University of Ottawa for radiocarbon dates, and Linda Kimpe at the University of Ottawa's Laboratory for the Analysis of Natural and Synthetic Environmental Toxins (LANSET) for the 210Pb dating. We are also grateful to the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Queen's University for assistance with the analyses of Chl-a(s) concentrations, and Karen Van Kerkoerle from the University of Western Ontario with help with designing graphics. Funding was provided by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant (FJL), an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (RD), the Canada Research Chairs Program (FJL), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (FJL) and the Ontario Research Fund (FJL). This is LSIS contribution #361.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

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