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Centennial to millennial hydroclimatic fluctuations in the humid northeast United States during the Holocene

  • Bryan N. Shuman (a1) and Sara A. Burrell (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Paleoclimate records indicate that the hydroclimate of the northeast United States changed continuously during the Holocene, but the signals of multi-century variations have been difficult to distinguish from local effects and noise. Systematic replication of the signals can help diagnose the patterns of change. Here, we use ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and sediment core analyses to extend and compare the regional network of lake-level records. We reconstruct the histories of two lakes in northeast Pennsylvania, which show that multi-century hydrologic changes observed in coastal New England extended to the Susquehanna River watershed. Correlations with isotopic and marine temperature records (r>0.65) indicate that high temperatures coincided with low water at 4.9–3.8 and 2.8–2.0 ka. Widely recognized Holocene events at ca. 4.2 and 2.7 ka, therefore, may have shared similar ocean-atmosphere dynamics in this region. Low water levels in Pennsylvania from ca. 5.5–4.9 ka, however, demonstrate that other multi-century changes had different patterns. At ca. 5.5 ka, anti-phased inland and coastal hydrologic changes followed a sharp temperature decline and produced drought possibly as far inland as the Great Lakes. The long-term increase in water levels since then underscores that current pluvial conditions in the region probably lack a Holocene precedent.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author at: University of Wyoming, Department of Geology and Geophysics, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, Wyoming 82071, USA. E-mail address: bshuman@uwyo.edu
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