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Journal Article

Detecting and quantifying palaeoseasonality in stalagmites using geochemical and modelling approaches


Baldini,  J. U. L.

Lechleitner,  F. A.

Breitenbach,  S. F. M.

van Hunen,  J.

Baldini,  L. M.

Wynn,  P. M.

Jamieson,  R. A.

Ridley,  H. E.

Baker,  A. J.

Walczak,  I. W.


Fohlmeister,  Jens
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Baldini, J. U. L., Lechleitner, F. A., Breitenbach, S. F. M., van Hunen, J., Baldini, L. M., Wynn, P. M., Jamieson, R. A., Ridley, H. E., Baker, A. J., Walczak, I. W., Fohlmeister, J. (2021): Detecting and quantifying palaeoseasonality in stalagmites using geochemical and modelling approaches. - Quaternary Science Reviews, 254, 106784.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_25175
Stalagmites are an extraordinarily powerful resource for the reconstruction of climatological palaeoseasonality. Here, we provide a review of different types of seasonality preserved by stalagmites and methods for extracting this information. A new drip classification scheme is introduced, which facilitates the identification of stalagmites fed by seasonally responsive drips and which highlights the wide variability in drip types feeding stalagmites. This hydrological variability, combined with seasonality in Earth atmospheric processes, meteoric precipitation, biological processes within the soil, and cave atmosphere composition means that every stalagmite retains a different and distinct (but correct) record of environmental conditions. Replication of a record is extremely useful but should not be expected unless comparing stalagmites affected by the same processes in the same proportion. A short overview of common microanalytical techniques is presented, and suggested best practice discussed. In addition to geochemical methods, a new modelling technique for extracting meteoric precipitation and temperature palaeoseasonality from stalagmite δ18O data is discussed and tested with both synthetic and real-world datasets. Finally, world maps of temperature, meteoric precipitation amount, and meteoric precipitation oxygen isotope ratio seasonality are presented and discussed, with an aim of helping to identify regions most sensitive to shifts in seasonality.