Evaluating Carbon Isotope Signature of Bulk Organic Matter and Plant Wax Derived n-alkanes from Lacustrine Sediments as Climate Proxies along the Western Side of the Andes

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Sergio Contreras, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Departamento de Quimica Ambiental, Concepción, Chile, Josef Peter Werne, Univ Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, Alberto Araneda, Environmental Science Center EULA, Concepción, Chile and Carlos A Conejero, University of Concepcion, Geophysics, Concepcion, Chile
Sedimentary carbon isotope values (δ13C) of bulk organic matter and long chain (C25 to C35) n-alkanes are among the most long-lived and widely utilized proxies of organic matter and vegetation source. The carbon distribution (e.g. average carbon chain length, ACL) and isotope signature from long chain n-alkanes had been intensively used on paleoclimate studies because they are less influenced by diagenesis, differential preservation of compound classes, and changes in the sources of organic matter than bulk δ13C values. Recently, studies of modern plant n-alkanes have challenged the use of carbon distribution and carbon isotope signature from sedimentary n-alkanes as reliable indicators of vegetation and climate change. The climate in central-south western South America (SA) is projected to become significantly warmer and drier over the next several decades to centuries in response to anthropogenically driven warming. Paleolimnological studies along western SA are critical to obtain more realistic and reliable regional reconstructions of past climate and environments, including vegetation and water budget variability. Here we discuss bulk δ13C, distribution and δ13C in long chain n-alkanes from a suite of ~40 lake surface sediment (core-top) samples spanning the transition from a Mediterranean climate with a patchwork of cultivated vegetation, pastureland, conifers in central Chile to a rainy temperate climate dominated by broadleaf deciduous and evergreen forest. Data are compared to the latitudinal and orographic climatic trends of the Andes based on the climatology (e.g. precipitation and temperature) of the locations of all lakes involved in this study, using monthly gridded reanalysis products of the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), based on the NCEP global forecast model and meteorological stations available in the region, from January 1979 to December 2010 with a 0.5° horizontal resolution.