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  1. Abstract

    Constraining the magnitude of past hydrological change may improve understanding and predictions of future shifts in water availability. Here we demonstrate that water-table depth, a sensitive indicator of hydroclimate, can be quantitatively reconstructed using Kr and Xe isotopes in groundwater. We present the first-ever measurements of these dissolved noble gas isotopes in groundwater at high precision (≤0.005‰ amu−1; 1σ), which reveal depth-proportional signals set by gravitational settling in soil air at the time of recharge. Analyses of California groundwater successfully reproduce modern groundwater levels and indicate a 17.9 ± 1.3 m (±1 SE) decline in water-table depth in Southern California during themore »last deglaciation. This hydroclimatic transition from the wetter glacial period to more arid Holocene accompanies a surface warming of 6.2 ± 0.6 °C (±1 SE). This new hydroclimate proxy builds upon an existing paleo-temperature application of noble gases and may identify regions prone to future hydrological change.

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  2. Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), large midwater regions of very low oxygen, are expected to expand as a result of climate change. While oxygen is known to be important in structuring midwater ecosystems, a precise and mechanistic understanding of the effects of oxygen on zooplankton is lacking. Zooplankton are important components of midwater food webs and biogeochemical cycles. Here, we show that, in the eastern tropical North Pacific OMZ, previously undescribed submesoscale oxygen variability has a direct effect on the distribution of many major zooplankton groups. Despite extraordinary hypoxia tolerance, many zooplankton live near their physiological limits and respond to slightmore »(≤1%) changes in oxygen. Ocean oxygen loss (deoxygenation) may, thus, elicit major unanticipated changes to midwater ecosystem structure and function.« less
  3. Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), large midwater regions of very low oxygen, are expected to expand as a result of climate change. While oxygen is known to be important in structuring midwater ecosystems, a precise and mechanistic understanding of the effects of oxygen on zooplankton is lacking. Zooplankton are important components of midwater food webs and biogeochemical cycles. Here, we show that, in the eastern tropical North Pacific OMZ, previously undescribed submesoscale oxygen variability has a direct effect on the distribution of many major zooplankton groups. Despite extraordinary hypoxia tolerance, many zooplankton live near their physiological limits and respond to slightmore »(≤1%) changes in oxygen. Ocean oxygen loss (deoxygenation) may, thus, elicit major unanticipated changes to midwater ecosystem structure and function.« less