Delta-deuterium and delta-oxygen-18 in mixed conifer systems in the United States southwest: The potential of delta-oxygen-18 in Pinus ponderosa tree rings as a natural environmental recorder
AuthorWright, William Edward
AdvisorLeavitt, Steven W.
Committee ChairLeavitt, Steven W.
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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.
AbstractThe North American Monsoon provides half of the annual precipitation in Tucson, Arizona. The other half occurs dominantly during the winter and early spring. Late spring is the transitional period to the monsoon and is characterized by high temperatures and low humidity. The reliability of this hyperarid period, the consistency of the timing of monsoon onset, and the recognition that certain high-elevation trees produce annual false latewood bands in response to this transitional period, were critical to the design of this dissertation research. I hypothesized that subannual environmental signals might be fixed in stable oxygen isotopes in cellulose from such trees. Existence of a long-term dataset of deltaD and delta18O from Tucson precipitation provided impetus for the collection of a companion dataset at a high-elevation site in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. Trees were sampled near the precipitation collection site. The relations between the stable isotope ratios in the precipitation and in the tree cellulose were identified through extraction of water from bimonthly samples of nearby soil, tree stems and needles. Spatial consistency of the cellulose stable isotope signals was measured using tree samples from seven additional sites across the U.S. desert Southwest. Correlations between Tucson summer precipitation delta18O and both local and extra-regional environmental parameters resulted in the identification of the dominant monsoonal moisture source for the Tucson area. Similar correlations with the cellulose delta18O timeseries from the post-false latewood cellulose, supported the previous interpretations, and suggest long-term reconstructions may be possible. Correlations between the earliest cellulose delta18O division and extra-regional environmental parameters suggest environmental measures may be reconstructable for the cool season. Comparison of the high and low elevation precipitation deltaD and delta18O datasets yielded many baseline measures of precipitation stable-isotope dynamics in the U.S. desert Southwest. Comparison of the high-elevation precipitation stable isotope record with soil and stem water deltaD and delta 18O from nearby confirmed that local trees were using dominantly deeper soil water. I noted correlations between measured needle-water stable isotope values and values calculated using a leaf-water model, but systematic departures suggest an additional unmodeled process may operate in this system.
Degree ProgramGraduate College