A Stable Isotope Approach to Neotropical Cloud Forest Paleoclimatology
AuthorAnchukaitis, Kevin John
AdvisorEvans, Michael N
Committee ChairEvans, Michael N
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMany tropical trees do not form reliable annual growth rings, making it a challenge to develop tree-ring width chronologies for application to paleoclimatology in these regions. Here, I seek to establish high-resolution proxy climate records from trees without rings from the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica using stable isotope dendroclimatology. Neotropical cloud forest ecosystems are associated with a relatively narrow range of geographic and hydroclimatic conditions, and are potentially sensitive to climate variability and change at time scales from annual to centennial and longer. My approach takes advantage of seasonal changes in the d18O of water sources used by trees over a year, a signature that is imparted to the radial growth and provides the necessary chronological control. A rapid wood extraction technique is evaluated and found to produce cellulose with d18O values indistinguishable from conventional approaches, although its application to radiocarbon requires a statistical correction. Analyses of plantation-grown Ocotea tenera reveal coherent annual d18O cycles up to 9 permil. The width of these cycles corresponds to observed basal growth increments. Interannual variability in d18O at this site is correlated with wet season precipitation anomalies. At higher elevations within the orographic cloud bank, year-to-year changes in the amplitude of oxygen isotope cycles show a relationship with dry season climate. Longer d18O chronologies from mature Pouteria (Sapotacae) reveal that dry season hydroclimatology is controlled at interannual time scales by variability in the eastern equatorial Pacific (ENSO) and the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool (WHWP), which are correlated with trade wind strength and local air temperature. A change in the late 1960s toward enhanced annual d18O amplitude may reflect low frequency changes in the Atlantic and Pacific ocean-atmosphere system. This study establishes the basis for cloud forest isotope dendroclimatology and demonstrates that the local climate of neotropical cloud forests is sensitive to interannual, and perhaps, multidecadal changes in important large-scale modes of climate variability.