skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "McGee, David"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    We reconstructed hydroclimate variability in the Yucatán Peninsula (YP) based on stalagmite oxygen and carbon isotope records from a well-studied cave system located in the northeastern YP, a region strongly influenced by Caribbean climate dynamics. The new stalagmite isotopic records span the time interval between 43 and 26.6 ka BP, extending a previously published record from the same cave system covering the interval between 26.5 and 23.2 ka BP. Stalagmite stable isotope records show dominant decadal and multidecadal variability, and weaker variability on millennial timescales. These records suggest significant precipitation declines in the broader Caribbean region during Heinrich events 4 and 3 of ice-rafted discharge into the North Atlantic, in agreement with the antiphase pattern of precipitation variability across the equator suggested by previous studies. On millennial timescales, the stalagmite isotope records do not show the distinctive saw-tooth pattern of climate variability observed in Greenland during Dansgaard–Oeschger (DO) events, but a pattern similar to North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) variability. We propose that shifts in the mean position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), per se, are not the dominant driver of last glacial hydroclimate variability in the YP on millennial timescales but instead that North Atlantic SSTs played a dominant role. Our results support a negative climate feedback mechanism whereby large low latitude precipitation deficits resulting from AMOC slowdown would lead to elevated salinity in the Caribbean and ultimately help reactivate AMOC and Caribbean precipitation. However, because of the unique drivers of future climate in the region, predicted twenty-first century YP precipitation reductions are unlikely to be modulated by this negative feedback mechanism.

    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. von Freymann, Georg ; Blasco, Eva ; Chanda, Debashis (Ed.)
  3. Most paleoclimate studies of Mainland Southeast Asia hydroclimate focus on the summer monsoon, with few studies investigating rainfall in other seasons. Here, we present a multiproxy stalagmite record (45,000 to 4,000 years) from central Vietnam, a region that receives most of its annual rainfall in autumn (September-November). We find evidence of a prolonged dry period spanning the last glacial maximum that is punctuated by an abrupt shift to wetter conditions during the deglaciation at ~14 ka. Paired with climate model simulations, we show that sea-level change drives autumn monsoon rainfall variability on glacial-orbital timescales. Consistent with the dry signal in the stalagmite record, climate model simulations reveal that lower glacial sea level exposes land in the Gulf of Tonkin and along the South China Shelf, reducing convection and moisture delivery to central Vietnam. When sea level rises and these landmasses flood at ~14 ka, moisture delivery to central Vietnam increases, causing an abrupt shift from dry to wet conditions. On millennial timescales, we find signatures of well-known Heinrich Stadials (HS) (dry conditions) and Dansgaard–Oeschger Events (wet conditions). Model simulations show that during the dry HS, changes in sea surface temperature related to meltwater forcing cause the formation of an anomalous anticyclone in the Western Pacific, which advects dry air across central Vietnam, decreasing autumn rainfall. Notably, sea level modulates the magnitude of millennial-scale dry and wet phases by muting dry events and enhancing wet events during periods of low sea level, highlighting the importance of this mechanism to autumn monsoon variability. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 4, 2024
  4. Abstract

    The timing and mechanisms of past hydroclimate change in northeast Mexico are poorly constrained, limiting our ability to evaluate climate model performance. To address this, we present a multiproxy speleothem record of past hydroclimate variability spanning 62.5 to 5.1 ka from Tamaulipas, Mexico. Here we show a strong influence of Atlantic and Pacific sea surface temperatures on orbital and millennial scale precipitation changes in the region. Multiple proxies show no clear response to insolation forcing, but strong evidence for dry conditions during Heinrich Stadials. While these trends are consistent with other records from across Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, the relative importance of thermodynamic and dynamic controls in driving this response is debated. An isotope-enabled climate model shows that cool Atlantic SSTs and stronger easterlies drive a strong inter-basin sea surface temperature gradient and a southward shift in moisture convergence, causing drying in this region.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The winter and summer monsoons in Southeast Asia are important but highly variable sources of rainfall. Current understanding of the winter monsoon is limited by conflicting proxy observations, resulting from the decoupling of regional atmospheric circulation patterns and local rainfall dynamics. These signals are difficult to decipher in paleoclimate reconstructions. Here, we present a winter monsoon speleothem record from Southeast Asia covering the Holocene and find that winter and summer rainfall changed synchronously, forced by changes in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In contrast, regional atmospheric circulation shows an inverse relation between winter and summer controlled by seasonal insolation over the Northern Hemisphere. We show that disentangling the local and regional signal in paleoclimate reconstructions is crucial in understanding and projecting winter and summer monsoon variability in Southeast Asia.

    more » « less
  6. Abstract

    The low latitude Indian Ocean is warming faster than other tropical basins, and its interannual climate variability is projected to become more extreme under future emissions scenarios with substantial impacts on developing Indian Ocean rim countries. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to understand the drivers of regional precipitation in a changing climate. Here we present a new speleothem record from Anjohibe, a cave in northwest (NW) Madagascar well situated to record past changes in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). U‐Th ages date speleothem growth from 27 to 14 ka. δ18O, δ13C, and trace metal proxies reconstruct drier conditions during Heinrich Stadials 1 and 2, and wetter conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum and Bølling–Allerød. This is surprising considering hypotheses arguing for southward (northward) ITCZ shifts during North Atlantic cooling (warming) events, which would be expected to result in wetter (drier) conditions at Anjohibe in the Southern Hemisphere tropics. The reconstructed Indian Ocean zonal (west‐east) sea surface temperature (SST) gradient is in close agreement with hydroclimate proxies in NW Madagascar, with periods of increased precipitation correlating with relatively warmer conditions in the western Indian Ocean and cooler conditions in the eastern Indian Ocean. Such gradients could drive long‐term shifts in the strength of the Walker circulation with widespread effects on hydroclimate across East Africa. These results suggest that during abrupt millennial‐scale climate changes, it is not meridional ITCZ shifts, but the tropical Indian Ocean SST gradient and Walker circulation driving East African hydroclimate variability.

    more » « less