Temperature and precipitation in the southern Central Andes during the last glacial maximum, Heinrich Stadial 1, and the Younger Dryas

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  • Jürgen Mey, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Centre for Geosciences
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  • Mitch K. D'Arcy, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Centre for Geosciences, University of Potsdam
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  • Taylor F. Schildgen, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Centre for Geosciences, University of Potsdam
  • ,
  • David L. Egholm
  • Hella Wittmann, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Centre for Geosciences
  • ,
  • Manfred R. Strecker, University of Potsdam

Recent developments in terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) exposure dating and the reinterpretation of TCN boulder ages from moraines have improved our understanding of the glacial chronology in the Central Andes. According to these records, glacial advances throughout the region correlate with insolation-driven changes in the intensity of the South American Summer Monsoon and millennial-scale climate events such as Heinrich Stadials and the Younger Dryas. Quantifying the temperature and precipitation shifts during these events helps to constrain past moisture pathways and associated changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Yet, particularly in the southern Central Andes, where a wealth of glacigenic landforms attests to formerly cooler and/or wetter conditions, the magnitudes of past temperature and precipitation changes are only loosely constrained at a few sites. Here, we present results from TCN-dated moraines combined with the reconstruction of former glaciers and paleolakes within the eastern sector of the southern Central Andes (24°–27°S) for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1), and the Younger Dryas (YD). We performed Monte-Carlo simulations with 2-dimensional models of ice flow and lake hydrology that are forced by a spatially-distributed surface energy balance model. Our results indicate that temperatures were 3.0–4.2 °C, 2.0–3.3 °C and 1.3–2.5 °C cooler during the LGM, HS1 and YD, respectively, in agreement with previous estimates elsewhere in the Central Andes. We find that temperature changes during the late glacial are compatible with sea-surface temperature anomalies derived from the tropical Atlantic. Precipitation was only 5–27% greater than today, which contrasts with larger anomalies reconstructed for the Bolivian part of the Andean Plateau (Altiplano). We attribute this discrepancy to the southerly position of our study region with respect to the Bolivian High, supporting the hypothesis that this atmospheric pressure system played a prominent role for South American Summer Monsoon dynamics during glacial episodes.

TidsskriftQuaternary Science Reviews
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2020

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