Comparison of multi-proxy data with past1000 model output over the Terminal Classic Period (800-1000 A.D.) on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Stephanie Van Pelt, Karen Elizabeth Kohfeld and Diana M Allen, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
The decline of the Mayan Civilization is thought to be caused by a series of droughts that affected the Yucatan Peninsula during the Terminal Classic Period (T.C.P.) 800-1000 AD. The goals of this study are two-fold: (a) to compare paleo-model simulations of the past 1000 years with a compilation of multiple proxies of changes in moisture conditions for the Yucatan Peninsula during the T.C.P. and (b) to use this comparison to inform the modeling of groundwater recharge in this region, with a focus on generating the daily climate data series needed as input to a groundwater recharge model. To achieve the first objective, we compiled a dataset of 5 proxies from seven locations across the Yucatan Peninsula, to be compared with temperature and precipitation output from the Community Climate System Model Version 4 (CCSM4), which is part of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) past1000 experiment. The proxy dataset includes oxygen isotopes from speleothems and gastropod/ostrocod shells (11 records); and sediment density, mineralogy, and magnetic susceptibility records from lake sediment cores (3 records). The proxy dataset is supplemented by a compilation of reconstructed temperatures using pollen and tree ring records for North America (archived in the PAGES2k global network data). Our preliminary analysis suggests that many of these datasets show evidence of drier and warmer climate on the Yucatan Peninsula around the T.C.P. when compared to modern conditions, although the amplitude and timing of individual warming and drying events varies between sites. This comparison with modeled output will ultimately be used to inform backward shift factors that will be input to a stochastic weather generator. These shift factors will be based on monthly changes in temperature and precipitation and applied to a modern daily climate time series for the Yucatan Peninsula to produce a daily climate time series for the T.C.P.