Publication Abstracts

Bühler et al. 2022, accepted

Bühler, J.C., J.M. Axelsson, F.A. Lechleitner, J. Fohlmeister, A.N. LeGrande, M. Midhun, J. Sjolte, M. Werner, K. Yoshimura, and K. Rehfeld, 2022: Investigating oxygen and carbon isotopic relationships in speleothem records over the last millennium using multiple isotope-enabled climate models. Clim. Past, accepted.

The incorporation of water isotopologues into the hydrology of general circulation models (GCMs) facilitates the comparison between modelled and measured proxy data in paleoclimate archives. However, the variability and drivers of measured and modelled water isotopologues, and indeed the diversity of their representation in different models are not well constrained. Improving our understanding of this variability in past and present climates will help to better constrain future climate change projections and decrease their range of uncertainty. Speleothems are a precisely datable paleoclimate archive and provide well preserved (semi-)continuous multivariate isotope time series in the lower and mid-latitudes, and are, therefore, well suited to assess climate and isotope variability on decadal and longer timescales. However, the relationship between speleothem oxygen and carbon isotopes to climate variables also depends on site-specific parameters, and their comparison to GCMs is not always straightforward.

Here we compare speleothem oxygen and carbon isotopic signatures from the Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis database version 2 (SISALv2) to the output of five different water-isotope-enabled GCMs (ECHAM5-wiso, GISS-E2-R, iCESM, iHadCM3, and isoGSM) over the last millennium (850-1850 common era, CE). We systematically evaluate differences and commonalities between the standardized model simulation outputs. The goal is to distinguish climatic drivers of variability for both modelled and measured isotopes.

We find strong regional differences in the oxygen isotope signatures between models that can partly be attributed to differences in modelled temperatures. At low latitudes, precipitation amount is the dominant driver for water isotope variability, however, at cave locations the agreement between modelled temperature variability is higher than for precipitation variability. While modelled isotopic signatures at cave locations exhibited extreme events coinciding with changes in volcanic and solar forcing, such fingerprints are not apparent in the speleothem isotopes, and may be attributed to the lower temporal resolution of speleothem records compared to the events that are to be detected. Using spectral analysis, we can show that all models underestimate decadal and longer variability compared to speleothems, although to varying extent.

We found that no model excels in all analyzed comparisons, although some perform better than the others in either mean or variability. Therefore, we advise a multi-model approach, whenever comparing proxy data to modelled data. Considering karst and cave internal processes through e.g. isotope-enabled karst models may alter the variability in speleothem isotopes and play an important role in determining the most appropriate model. By exploring new ways of analyzing the relationship between the oxygen and carbon isotopes, their variability, and co-variability across timescales, we provide methods that may serve as a baseline for future studies with different models using e.g. different isotopes, different climate archives, or time periods.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Bühler, J. C. and Axelsson, J. M. and Lechleitner, F. A. and Fohlmeister, J. and LeGrande, A. N. and Midhun, M. and Sjolte, J. and Werner, M. and Yoshimura, K. and Rehfeld, K.},
  title={Investigating oxygen and carbon isotopic relationships in speleothem records over the last millennium using multiple isotope-enabled climate models},
  journal={Clim. Past},

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RIS Citation

ID  - bu09100t
AU  - Bühler, J. C.
AU  - Axelsson, J. M.
AU  - Lechleitner, F. A.
AU  - Fohlmeister, J.
AU  - LeGrande, A. N.
AU  - Midhun, M.
AU  - Sjolte, J.
AU  - Werner, M.
AU  - Yoshimura, K.
AU  - Rehfeld, K.
PY  - 2022
TI  - Investigating oxygen and carbon isotopic relationships in speleothem records over the last millennium using multiple isotope-enabled climate models
JA  - Clim. Past
ER  -

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