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  1. Sinkholes develop on carbonate landscapes when caves collapse and can subsequently become lake-like environments if they are flooded by local groundwater. Sediment cores retrieved from sinkholes have yielded high-resolution reconstructions of past environmental change, hydroclimate, and hurricane activity. However, our understanding of the internal sedimentary processes of these systems remains incomplete. Here, we use a multiproxy approach including sedimentology (stratigraphy, coarse-grained particle density, bulk organic matter content), micropaleontology (ostracods), and geochemistry (δ13C and δ2H on n-alkanoic acids) to reconstruct evidence for paleolimnology and regional hydroclimate from a continuous stratigraphic record (Emerald Pond sinkhole) in the northern Bahamas that spans the middle to late Holocene. Basal peat at 8.9 m below modern sea level documents the maximum sea-level position at ~ 8200 cal. yr BP. Subsequent upward vertical migration of the local aquifer caused by regional sea-level rise promoted carbonate-marl deposition from ~ 8300 to 1700 cal. yr BP. A shift in coarse particle deposition and ostracods at 5500 cal. yr BP suggests some environmental change, which may be related to one or multiple internal or external drivers. Sapropel deposition from ~ 1700 to 1300 cal. yr BP indicates a fundamental change in limnology to promote increased organic matter preservation, perhaps related to the regional cooling during the Dark Ages Cold Period. We find δ2H28 values are largely invariant from 7700 to 6150 cal. yr BP suggesting a generally stable hydroclimate (mean − 133‰, 1σ = 5‰). The shift to more depleted values (− 156‰, 1σ = 19‰) at ~ 6000–4800 cal. yr BP may be linked to a weakened (eastern displaced) North Atlantic Subtropical High. Nevertheless, additional local hydroclimate records are needed to better disentangle uncertainties from either internal or external influences on the resultant measurements. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Ancient lake deposits in the Mojave Desert indicate that the water cycle in this currently dry place was radically different under past climates. Here we revisit a 700 m core drilled 55 years ago from Searles Valley, California, that recovered evidence for a lacustrine phase during the late Pliocene. We update the paleomagnetic age model and extract new biomarker evidence for climatic conditions from lacustrine deposits (3.373–2.706 Ma). The MBT′5Metemperature proxy detects present‐day conditions (21 ± 3°C,n = 2) initially, followed by warmer‐than‐present conditions (25 ± 3°C,n = 17) starting at 3.268 and ending at 2.734 Ma. Bacterial and archeal biomarkers reveal lake salinity increased after 3.268 Ma likely reflecting increased evaporation in response to higher temperatures. The δ13C values of plant waxes (−30.7 ± 1.4‰,n = 28) are consistent with local C3taxa, likely expanded conifer woodlands during the pluvial with less C4than the Pleistocene. δD values (−174 ± 5‰,n = 25) of plant waxes indicate precipitation δD values (−89 ± 5‰,n = 25) in the late Pliocene are within the same range as the late Pleistocene precipitation δD. Microbial biomarkers identify a deep, freshwater lake and a cooling that corresponds to the onset of major Northern Hemisphere glaciation at marine isotope stage marine isotope stages M2 (3.3 Ma). A more saline lake persisted for ∼0.6 Ma across the subsequent warmth of the late Pliocene (3.268–2.734 Ma) before the lake desiccated at the Pleistocene intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation.

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  3. The response of the terrestrial biosphere to warming remains one of the most poorly understood and quantified aspects of the climate system. One way to test the behavior of the Earth system in warm climate states is to examine the geological record. The abundance, distribution, and/or isotopic composition of source-specific organic molecules (biomarkers) have been used to reconstruct terrestrial paleoenvironmental change over a range of geological timescales. Here, we review new or recently improved biomarker approaches for reconstructing ( a) physical climate variables (land temperature, rainfall), ( b) ecosystem state variables (vegetation, fire regime), and ( c) biogeochemical variables (soil residence time, methane cycling). This review encompasses a range of key compound classes (e.g., lipids, lignin, and carbohydrates). In each section, we explore the concept behind key biomarker approaches and discuss their successes as paleoenvironmental indicators. We emphasize that analyzing several biomarkers in tandem can provide unique insights into the Earth system. ▪ Biomarkers can be used to reconstruct terrestrial environmental change over a range of geological timescales. ▪ Analyzing several biomarkers in tandem can provide unique insights into the Earth system. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 50 is May 2022. Please see for revised estimates. 
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  4. Abstract

    Great Salt Lake (GSL), Utah, is a hypersaline terminal lake in the Great Basin, and the remnant of the late glacial Lake Bonneville. Holocene hydroclimate variations cannot be interpreted from the shoreline record, but instead can be investigated by proxies archived in the sediments. GLAD1‐GSL00‐1B was cored in 2000 and recently dated by radiocarbon for the Holocene section with the top 11 m representing ∼7 ka to present. Sediment samples every 30 cm (∼220 years) were studied for the full suite of microbial membrane lipids, including those responsive to temperature and salinity. The Archaeol and Caldarchaeol Ecometric (ACE) index detects the increase in lipids of halophilic archaea, relative to generalists, as salinity increases. We find Holocene ACE values ranged from 81 to 98, which suggests persistent hypersalinity with <50 g/L variability across 7.2 ka. The temperature proxy, MBTʹ5Me, yields values similar to modern mean annual air temperature for months above freezing (MAF = 15.7°C) over the last 5.5 ka. Several glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether metrics show a step shift in microbial communities and limnology at 5.5 ka. Extended archaeol detects elevated salinity during the regional mid‐Holocene drought, not readily detected in the ACE record that is often near the upper limit of the index. We infer that the mid‐Holocene GSL was shallower and saltier than the late Holocene. The current drying may be returning the lake to conditions not seen since the mid‐Holocene.

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  5. Abstract

    The Eocene‐Oligocene transition (EOT) marks the shift from greenhouse to icehouse conditions at 34 Ma, when a permanent ice sheet developed on Antarctica. Climate modeling studies have recently assessed the drivers of the transition globally. Here we revisit those experiments for a detailed study of the southern high latitudes in comparison to the growing number of mean annual sea surface temperature (SST) and mean air temperature (MAT) proxy reconstructions, allowing us to assess proxy‐model temperature agreement and refine estimates for the magnitude of thepCO2forcing of the EOT. We compile and update published proxy temperature records on and around Antarctica for the late Eocene (38–34 Ma) and early Oligocene (34–30 Ma). Compiled SST proxies cool by up to 3°C and MAT by up to 4°C between the timeslices. Proxy data were compared to previous climate model simulations representing pre‐ and post‐EOT, typically forced with a halving ofpCO2. We scaled the model outputs to identify the magnitude ofpCO2change needed to drive a commensurate change in temperature to best fit the temperature proxies. The multi‐model ensemble needs a 30 or 33% decrease inpCO2, to best fit MAT or SST proxies respectively. These proxy‐model intercomparisons identify decliningpCO2as the primary forcing of EOT cooling, with a magnitude (200 or 243 ppmv) approaching that of thepCO2proxies (150 ppmv). However individual model estimates span a decrease of 66–375 ppmv, thus proxy‐model uncertainties are dominated by model divergence.

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