McGee David

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  • Article
    Evidence for decreased precipitation variability in the Yucatán Peninsula during the mid-Holocene
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-05-06) Serrato Marks, Gabriela ; Medina-Elizalde, Martín ; Burns, Stephen J. ; Weldeab, Syee ; Lases-Hernandez, Fernanda ; Cazares, Gabriela ; McGee, David
    The Yucatán Peninsula (YP) has a complex hydroclimate with many proposed drivers of interannual and longer-term variability, ranging from coupled ocean–atmosphere processes to frequency of tropical cyclones. The mid-Holocene, a time of higher Northern Hemisphere summer insolation, provides an opportunity to test the relationship between YP precipitation and ocean temperature. Here, we present a new, ∼annually resolved speleothem record of stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) and trace element (Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) ratios for a section of the mid-Holocene (5.2–5.7 kyr BP), before extensive agriculture began in the region. A meter-long stalagmite from Río Secreto, a cave system in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, was dated using U–Th geochronology and layer counting, yielding multidecadal age uncertainty (median 2SD of ±70 years). New proxy data were compared to an existing late Holocene stalagmite record from the same cave system, allowing us to examine changes in hydrology over time and to paleoclimate records from the southern YP. The δ18O, δ13C, and Mg/Ca data consistently indicate higher mean precipitation and lower precipitation variability during the mid-Holocene compared to the late Holocene. Despite this reduced variability, multidecadal precipitation variations were persistent in regional hydroclimate during the mid-Holocene. We therefore conclude that higher summer insolation led to increased mean precipitation and decreased precipitation variability in the northern YP but that the region is susceptible to dry periods across climate mean states. Given projected decreases in wet season precipitation in the YP’s near future, we suggest that climate mitigation strategies emphasize drought preparation.
  • Article
    Orbital- and millennial-scale variability in northwest African dust emissions over the past 67,000 years
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-12-07) Kinsley, Christopher W. ; Bradtmiller, Louisa I. ; McGee, David ; Galgay, Michael ; Stuut, Jan-Berend W. ; Tjallingii, Rik ; Winckler, Gisela ; deMenocal, Peter B.
    Reconstructions of aeolian dust flux to West African margin sediments can be used to explore changing atmospheric circulation and hydroclimate over North Africa on millennial to orbital timescales. Here, we extend West African margin dust flux records back to 37 ka in a transect of sites from 19° to 27°N, and back to 67 ka at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Hole 658C, in order to explore the interplay of orbital and high-latitude forcings on North African climate and make quantitative estimates of dust flux during the core of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The ODP 658C record shows a Green Sahara interval from 60 to 50 ka during a time of high Northern Hemisphere summer insolation, with dust fluxes similar to levels during the early Holocene African Humid Period, and an abrupt peak in flux during Heinrich event 5a (H5a). Dust fluxes increase from 50 to 35 ka while the high-latitude Northern Hemisphere cools, with peaks in dust flux associated with North Atlantic cool events. From 35 ka through the LGM dust deposition decreases in all cores, and little response is observed to low-latitude insolation changes. Dust fluxes at sites from 21° to 27°N were near late Holocene levels during the LGM time slice, suggesting a more muted LGM response than observed from mid-latitude dust sources. Records along the northwest African margin suggest important differences in wind responses during different stadials, with maximum dust flux anomalies centered south of 20°N during H1 and north of 20°N during the Younger Dryas.
  • Article
    Glacial to Holocene changes in trans-Atlantic Saharan dust transport and dust-climate feedbacks
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2016-11-23) Williams, Ross H. ; McGee, David ; Kinsley, Christopher W. ; Ridley, David A. ; Hu, Shineng ; Fedorov, Alexey ; Tal, Irit ; Murray, Richard W. ; deMenocal, Peter B.
    Saharan mineral dust exported over the tropical North Atlantic is thought to have significant impacts on regional climate and ecosystems, but limited data exist documenting past changes in long-range dust transport. This data gap limits investigations of the role of Saharan dust in past climate change, in particular during the mid-Holocene, when climate models consistently underestimate the intensification of the West African monsoon documented by paleorecords. We present reconstructions of African dust deposition in sediments from the Bahamas and the tropical North Atlantic spanning the last 23,000 years. Both sites show early and mid-Holocene dust fluxes 40 to 50% lower than recent values and maximum dust fluxes during the deglaciation, demonstrating agreement with records from the northwest African margin. These quantitative estimates of trans-Atlantic dust transport offer important constraints on past changes in dust-related radiative and biogeochemical impacts. Using idealized climate model experiments to investigate the response to reductions in Saharan dust’s radiative forcing over the tropical North Atlantic, we find that small (0.15°C) dust-related increases in regional sea surface temperatures are sufficient to cause significant northward shifts in the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone, increased precipitation in the western Sahel and Sahara, and reductions in easterly and northeasterly winds over dust source regions. Our results suggest that the amplifying feedback of dust on sea surface temperatures and regional climate may be significant and that accurate simulation of dust’s radiative effects is likely essential to improving model representations of past and future precipitation variations in North Africa.
  • Article
    Changes in biological productivity along the northwest African margin over the past 20,000 years
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2016-01-23) Bradtmiller, Louisa I. ; McGee, David ; Awalt, Mitchell ; Evers, Joseph ; Yerxa, Haley ; Kinsley, Christopher W. ; deMenocal, Peter B.
    The intertropical convergence zone and the African monsoon system are highly sensitive to climate forcing at orbital and millennial timescales. Both systems influence the strength and direction of the trade winds along northwest Africa and thus directly impact coastal upwelling. Sediment cores from the northwest African margin record upwelling-related changes in biological productivity connected to changes in regional and hemispheric climate. We present records of 230Th-normalized biogenic opal and Corg fluxes using a meridional transect of four cores from 19°N–31°N along the northwest African margin to examine changes in paleoproductivity since the last glacial maximum. We find large changes in biogenic fluxes synchronous with changes in eolian fluxes calculated using end-member modeling, suggesting that paleoproductivity and dust fluxes were strongly coupled, likely linked by changes in wind strength. Opal and Corg fluxes increase at all sites during Heinrich Stadial 1 and the Younger Dryas, consistent with an overall intensification of the trade winds, and changes in the meridional flux gradient indicate a southward wind shift at these times. Biogenic fluxes were lowest, and the meridional flux gradients were weakest during the African Humid Period when the monsoon was invigorated due to precessional changes, with greater rainfall and weaker trade winds over northwest Africa. These results expand the spatial coverage of previous paleoproxy studies showing similar changes, and they provide support for modeling studies showing changes in wind strength and direction consistent with increased upwelling during abrupt coolings and decreased upwelling during the African Humid Period.
  • Preprint
    Thorium isotopes tracing the iron cycle at the Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station ALOHA
    ( 2015-07) Hayes, Christopher T. ; Fitzsimmons, Jessica N. ; Boyle, Edward A. ; McGee, David ; Anderson, Robert F. ; Weisend, Rachel ; Morton, Peter L.
    The role of iron as a limiting micronutrient motivates an effort to understand the supply and removal of lithogenic trace metals in the ocean. The long-lived thorium isotopes (232 Th and 230 Th) in seawater can be used to quantify the input of lithogenic metals attributable to the partial dissolution of aerosol dust. Thus, Th can help in disentangling the Fe cycle by providing an estimate of its ultimate supply and turnover rate. Here we present time-series (1994-2014) data on thorium isotopes and iron concentrations in seawater from the Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station ALOHA. By comparing Th-based dissolved Fe fluxes with measured dissolved Fe inventories, we derive Fe residence times of 6-12 months for the surface ocean. Therefore, Fe inventories in the surface ocean are sensitive to seasonal changes in dust input. Ultrafiltration results further reveal that Th has a much lower colloidal content than Fe does, despite a common source. On this basis, we suggest Fe colloids may be predominantly organic in composition, at least at Station ALOHA. In the deep ocean (>2 km), Fe approaches a solubility limit while Th, surprisingly, is continually leached from lithogenic particles. This distinction has implications for the relevance of Fe ligand availability in the deep ocean, but also suggests Th is not a good tracer for Fe in deep waters. While uncovering divergent behavior of these elements in the water column, this study finds that dissolved Th flux is a suitable proxy for the supply of Fe from dust in the remote surface ocean.
  • Article
    Modeling iceberg longevity and distribution during Heinrich Events
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-05-17) Fendrock, Michaela ; Condron, Alan ; McGee, David
    During the last glacial period (120–12 ka), the Laurentide ice sheet discharged large numbers of icebergs into the North Atlantic. These icebergs carried sediments that were dropped as the icebergs melted, leaving a record of past iceberg activity on the floor of the subpolar North Atlantic. Periods of significant iceberg discharge and increased ice-rafted debris (IRD) deposition, are known as Heinrich Events. These events coincide with global climate change, and the melt from the icebergs involved is frequently hypothesized to have contributed to these changes in climate by adding a significant volume of cold, fresh water to the North Atlantic. Using an iceberg model coupled with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Global Circulation Model numerical circulation model, we explore the various factors controlling iceberg drift and rates of melt that influence the spatial patterns of IRD deposition during Heinrich Events. In addition to clarifying the influence of sea surface temperature and wind on the path of an armada of icebergs, we demonstrate that the same volume of ice can produce very different patterns of iceberg drift simply by altering the size of icebergs involved. We note also a significant difference in the seasonal locations of icebergs, influenced primarily by the changing winds, and show that the spatial patterns of IRD for Heinrich Event 1 most closely corresponds to where icebergs are located during the summer months. Consistent with proxy evidence, the ocean must be several degrees colder than temperatures estimated for the Last Glacial Maximum in order for icebergs to travel the distance implied by Heinrich Layers.
  • Article
    Climatically driven changes in the supply of terrigenous sediment to the East China Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-08-11) Anderson, Chloe H. ; Murray, Richard W. ; Dunlea, Ann G. ; Giosan, Liviu ; Kinsley, Christopher W. ; McGee, David ; Tada, Ryuji
    We examine the paleoceanographic record over the last ∼400 kyr derived from major, trace, and rare earth elements in bulk sediment from two sites in the East China Sea drilled during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 346. We use multivariate statistical partitioning techniques (Q‐mode factor analysis, multiple linear regression) to identify and quantify five crustal source components (Upper Continental Crust (UCC), Luochuan Loess, Xiashu Loess, Southern Japanese Islands, Kyushu Volcanics), and model their mass accumulation rates (MARs). UCC (35–79% of terrigenous contribution) and Luochuan Loess (16–55% contribution) are the most abundant end‐members through time, while Xiashu Loess, Southern Japanese Islands, and Kyushu Volcanics (1–22% contribution) are the lowest in abundance when present. Cycles in UCC and Luochuan Loess MARs may indicate continental and loess‐like material transported by major rivers into the Okinawa Trough. Increases in sea level and grain size proxy (e.g., SiO2/Al2O3) are coincident with increased flux of Southern Japanese Islands, indicating localized sediment supply from Japan. Increases in total terrigenous MAR precede minimum relative sea levels by several thousand years and may indicate remobilization of continental shelf material. Changes in the relative contribution of these end‐members are decoupled from total MAR, indicating compositional changes in the sediment are distinct from accumulation rate changes but may be linked to variations in sea level, riverine and eolian fluxes, and shelf‐bypass processes over glacial‐interglacials, complicating accurate monsoon reconstructions from fluvial dominated sediment.
  • Article
    230 Th normalization: new insights on an essential tool for quantifying sedimentary fluxes in the modern and quaternary ocean
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2020-01-27) Costa, Kassandra M. ; Hayes, Christopher T. ; Anderson, Robert F. ; Pavia, Frank ; Bausch, Alexandra ; Deng, Feifei ; Dutay, Jean-Claude ; Geibert, Walter ; Heinze, Christoph ; Henderson, Gideon M. ; Hillaire‐Marcel, Claude ; Hoffmann, Sharon S. ; Jaccard, Samuel L. ; Jacobel, Allison W. ; Kienast, Stephanie S. ; Kipp, Lauren ; Lerner, Paul ; Lippold, Jörg ; Lund, David C. ; Marcantonio, Franco ; McGee, David ; McManus, Jerry F. ; Mekik, Figen ; Middleton, Jennifer L. ; Missiaen, Lise ; Not, Christelle ; Pichat, Sylvain ; Robinson, Laura F. ; Rowland, George H. ; Roy-Barman, Matthieu ; Tagliabue, Alessandro ; Torfstein, Adi ; Winckler, Gisela ; Zhou, Yuxin
    230Th normalization is a valuable paleoceanographic tool for reconstructing high‐resolution sediment fluxes during the late Pleistocene (last ~500,000 years). As its application has expanded to ever more diverse marine environments, the nuances of 230Th systematics, with regard to particle type, particle size, lateral advective/diffusive redistribution, and other processes, have emerged. We synthesized over 1000 sedimentary records of 230Th from across the global ocean at two time slices, the late Holocene (0–5,000 years ago, or 0–5 ka) and the Last Glacial Maximum (18.5–23.5 ka), and investigated the spatial structure of 230Th‐normalized mass fluxes. On a global scale, sedimentary mass fluxes were significantly higher during the Last Glacial Maximum (1.79–2.17 g/cm2kyr, 95% confidence) relative to the Holocene (1.48–1.68 g/cm2kyr, 95% confidence). We then examined the potential confounding influences of boundary scavenging, nepheloid layers, hydrothermal scavenging, size‐dependent sediment fractionation, and carbonate dissolution on the efficacy of 230Th as a constant flux proxy. Anomalous 230Th behavior is sometimes observed proximal to hydrothermal ridges and in continental margins where high particle fluxes and steep continental slopes can lead to the combined effects of boundary scavenging and nepheloid interference. Notwithstanding these limitations, we found that 230Th normalization is a robust tool for determining sediment mass accumulation rates in the majority of pelagic marine settings (>1,000 m water depth).