Skip to main content
×
Home

Climate change on the Yucatan Peninsula during the Little Ice Age

  • David A. Hodell (a1), Mark Brenner (a1), Jason H. Curtis (a1), Roger Medina-González (a2), Enrique Ildefonso-Chan Can (a2), Alma Albornaz-Pat (a2) and Thomas P. Guilderson (a3)...
Abstract

We studied a 5.1-m sediment core from Aguada X'caamal (20° 36.6′N, 89° 42.9′W), a small sinkhole lake in northwest Yucatan, Mexico. Between 1400 and 1500 A.D., oxygen isotope ratios of ostracod and gastropod carbonate increased by an average of 2.2‰ and the benthic foraminifer Ammonia beccarii parkinsoniana appeared in the sediment profile, indicating a hydrologic change that included increased lake water salinity. Pollen from a core in nearby Cenote San José Chulchacá showed a decrease in mesic forest taxa during the same period. Oxygen isotopes of shell carbonate in sediment cores from Lakes Chichancanab (19° 53.0′N, 88° 46.0′W) and Salpeten (16° 58.6′N, 89° 40.5′W) to the south also increased in the mid-15th century, but less so than in Aguada X'caamal. Climate change in the 15th century is also supported by historical accounts of cold and famine described in Maya and Aztec chronicles. We conclude that climate became drier on the Yucatan Peninsula in the 15th century A.D. near the onset of the Little Ice Age (LIA). Comparison of results from the Yucatan Peninsula with other circum-Caribbean paleoclimate records indicates a coherent climate response for this region at the beginning of the LIA. At that time, sea surface temperatures cooled and aridity in the circum-Caribbean region increased.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Fax: +1 352 392 9294.E-mail address: dhodell@geology.ufl.edu (D.A. Hodell).
References
Hide All
Black D.E., Peterson L.C., Overpeck J.T., Kaplan A., Evans M., Kashgarian M., (1999). Eight centuries of North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere variability. Science 286, 17091713.
Black D.E., Thunell R.C., Kaplan A., Peterson L.C., Tappa E.J., (2004). A 2000-year record of Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic hydrographic variability. Paleoceanography 19, .
Boose E.R., Foster D.R., Barker Plotkin A., Hall B., (2003). Geographical and historical variation in hurricanes across the Yucatan Peninsula. Gomez-Pompa A., Allen M.F., Fedick S.L., Jimenez-Osornio J.J., The Lowland Maya: Three Millennia at the Human–Wildland Interface. Haworth Press, Binghamton., 495516.
Brenner M., Leyden B.W., Curtis J.H., Medina González R.M., Dahlin B.H., (2000). Un registro de 8000 anos del paleoclima del noroeste de Yucatan, Mexico. Revista de la Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán 213, 5265.
Bronk Ramsey C., (1998). Probability and dating. Radiocarbon 40, 461474.
Cann J.H., De Deckker P., (1981). Fossil Quaternary and living foraminifera from athalassic (non-marine) saline lakes, southern Australia. Journal of Palaeontology 55, 660670.
Covich A.P., Stability of molluscan communities: a paleolimnologic study of environmental disturbance in the Yucatan Peninsula. Ph.D dissertation, , Yale University., .
Covich A., Stuiver M., (1974). Changes in oxygen 18 as a measure of long-term fluctuations in tropical lake levels and molluscan populations. Limnology and Oceanography 19, 682691.
Craine E.R., Reindorp C., (1979). The Codex Perez and the Book of Chilam Balam of Mani. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman., 209 pp.
Curtis J.H., Hodell D.A., Brenner M., (1996). Climate variability on the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) during the past 3500 yr, and implications for Maya cultural evolution. Quaternary Research 46, 3747.
Curtis J.H., Brenner M., Hodell D.A., Balser R.A., Islebe G.A., Hooghiemstra H., (1998). A multi-proxy study of Holocene environmental change in the Maya Lowlands of Peten, Guatemala. Journal of Paleolimnology 19, 139159.
De Deckker P., (1982). Holocene ostracods, other invertebrates and fish remains from cores of four Maar lakes in southern Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 94, 4 183220.
deMenocal P., Ortiz J., Guilderson T., Sarnthein M., (2000). Coherent high- and low-latitude variability during the Holocene warm period. Science 288, 21982202.
Deevey E.S., Stuiver M., (1964). Distribution of natural isotopes of carbon in Linsley Pond and other New England lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 9, 111.
Fagan B., (2000). The Little Ice Age. Basic Books, New York., 246 pp.
Fisher M.M., Brenner M., Reddy K.R., (1992). A simple, inexpensive piston corer for collecting undisturbed sediment/water interface profiles. Journal of Paleolimnology 7, 157161.
Flores-Nava A., (1994). Some limnological data from five water bodies of Yucatan as a basis for agriculture development. Anales del Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia 1–2, 21 1153.
Fontes J.C., Gonfiantini R., (1967). Component isotopique au cours de l'evaporation de deux basins sahariens. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 3, 258266.
Garcia A., (1999). Charophyte flora of southeastern South Australia and southwestern Victoria, Australia: systematics, distribution and ecology. Australian Journal of Botany 47, 407426.
Gessner F., Hydrobotanik. Die Physiologischen Grundlagen der Pflanzenverbreitung im Wasser. II.. Stoffhaushalt, Berlin, VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaftern, 701 pp.
Giannini A., Kushnir Y., Cane M.A., (2000). Interannual variability of Caribbean rainfall, ENSO, and the Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Climate 13, 297311.
Giannini A., Kushnir Y., Cane M.A., (2001). Seasonality in the impact of ENSO and the North Atlantic high on Caribbean rainfall.. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Part B: Hydrology, Oceans and Atmosphere 26, 143147.
Giddings L., Soto M., (2003). Rhythms of precipitation in the Yucatan Peninsula. Gomez-Pompa A., Allen M.F., Fedick S.L., Jimenez-Osornio J.J., The Lowland Maya: Three Millennia at the Human–Wildland Interface. Haworth Press, Binghamton., 7789.
Gill R.B., (2000). The Great Maya Droughts: Water, Life, and Death. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque., 464 pp.
Gray C.R., (1993). Regional meteorology and hurricanes. Maul G.A., Climatic Change in the Intra-Americas Sea. Edward Arnold, London., 8799.
Grove J.M., (1988). The Little Ice Age. Methuen, New York., 498 pp.
Hastenrath S., (1984). Interannual variability and the annual cycle: mechanisms of circulation and climate in the tropical Atlantic sector. Monthly Weather Review 112, 10971107.
Hastenrath S., (1991). Climate Dynamics of the Tropics. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands., 488 pp.
Haug G.H., Hughen K.A., Sigman D.M., Peterson L.C., Röhl U., (2001). Southward migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone through the holocene. Science 293, 13041308.
Hildebrand A.R., Pilkington M., Connors M., Ortiz-Aleman C., Chavez R.E., (1995). Size and structure of the Chicxulub crater revealed by horizontal gravity gradients and cenotes. Nature 376, 415417.
Hodell D.A., Curtis J.H., Jones G.A., Higuera-Gundy A., Brenner M., Binford M.W., Dorsey K.T., (1991). Reconstruction of Caribbean climate change over the past 10,500 years. Nature 352, 790793.
Hodell D.A., Curtis J.H., Brenner M., (1995). Possible role of climate in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization. Nature 375, 391394.
Hodell D.A., Brenner M., Curtis J.H., Guilderson T., (2001). Solar forcing of drought frequency in the Maya Lowlands. Science 292, 13671369.
Hodell D.A., Brenner M., Curtis J.H., in press. Terminal Classic drought in the northern Maya Lowlands inferred from multiple sediment cores in Lake Chichancanab (Mexico).. Quaternary Science Reviews. .
Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geographia e Informatica (INEGI), 1981. 1:1000000 Merida, Carta de Precipitation. Merida, Yucatán, Mexico.
Keigwin L.D., (1996). The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea. Science 274, 15041508.
Kreutz K.J., Mayewski P.A., Meeker L.D., Twickler M.S., Whitlow S.I., Pittalwala I.I., (1997). Bipolar changes in atmospheric circulation during the Little Ice Age. Science 277, 12941296.
Lawrence J.R., (1998). Isotopic spikes from tropical cyclones in surface waters: opportunities in hydrology and paleoclimatology. Chemical Geology 144, 153160.
Lawrence J.R., Gedzelman D., Zhang X., Arnold R., (1998). Stable isotope ratios of rain and vapor in 1995 hurricanes. Journal of Geophysical Research 103, 1138211400.
Leyden B.W., Brenner M., Whitmore T., Curtis J.H., Piperno D.R., Dahlin B.H., (1996). A record of long- and short-term climatic variation from northwest Yucatán: Cenote San José Chulchacá. Fedick S.L., The Managed Mosaic: Ancient Maya Agriculture and Resource Use. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City., 3050.
Lund D.C., Curry W.B., (2004). Late Holocene variability in Florida Current surface density: patterns and possible causes. Paleoceanography 19, PA4001(doi:10.1029/2004PA001008).
Magaña V., Amador J.A., Medina S., (1999). The midsummer drought over Mexico and Central America. Journal of Climate 12, 15771588.
Mann M.E., Bradley R.S., Hughes M., (1999). Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: inferences, uncertainties, and limitations. Geophysical Research Letters 26, 759762.
Marin L., Field investigations and numerical simulation of ground-water flow in the karstic aquifer of northwestern Yucatan, Mexico.. Ph.D Dissertation, . Northern Illinois University., 183 pp.
Milbrath S., Peraza C., (2003). Revisiting Mayapan: Mexico's last Maya capital. Ancient Mesoamerica 14, 146.
Nyberg J., Malmgren B.A., Kuijpers A., Winter A., (2002). A centennial-scale variability of tropical North Atlantic surface hydrography during the late Holocene. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 183, 2541.
O'Brien S.R., Mayewski P.A., Meeker L.D., Meese D.A., Twickler M.S., Whitlow S.I., (1995). Complexity of holocene climate as reconstructed from a Greenland Ice Core. Science 270, 19621964.
Perry E.C., Marin L.E., McClain J., Velazquez G., (1995). The ring of cenotes (sinkholes) northwest Yucatan, Mexico: its hydrogeologic characteristics and association with the Chicxulub impact crater. Geology 23, 1720.
Perry E., Velazquez-Oliman G., Marin L., (2002). The hydrogeochemistry of the karst aquifer system of the northern Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. International Geology Review 44, 191221.
Perry E., Velazquez-Oliman G., Socki R.A., (2003). Hydrogeology of the Yucatán Peninsula. Gomez-Pompa A., Allen M.F., Fedick S.L., Jimenez-Osornio J.J., The Lowland Maya: Three Millennia at the Human–Wildland Interface. Haworth Press, Binghamton., 115138.
Pope K.O., Ocampo A.C., Kinsland G.L., Smith R., (1996). Surface expression of the Chicxulub crater. Geology 24, 527530.
Rosenmeier M.F., Hodell D.A., Brenner M., Curtis J.H., (2002). A 4000-year lacustrine record of environmental change in the southern Maya lowlands, Peten, Guatemala. Quaternary Research 57, 183190.
Rozanski K., Araguá-Araguá L., Gonfiantini R., (1993). Isotopic patterns of modern global precipitation. Swart P.K., Lohmann K.C., McKenzie J.A., Savin S., Climate change in continental isotopic records. American Geophysical Union, Washington., 136.
Socki R.A., Perry E.C., Romanek C.S., (2002). Stable isotope systematics of two cenotes from the northern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Limnology and Oceanography 47, 18081818.
Stuiver M., Reimer P.J., Bard E., Beck J.W., Burr G.S., Hughen K.A., Kromer B., McCormac F.G., van der Plicht J., Spurk M., (1998). INTCAL98 Radiocarbon Age Calibration 24,000–0 cal B.P. Radiocarbon 40, 10411083.
Schmitter-Soto J.J., Comin F.A., Escobar-Briones E., Herrera-Silveira J., Alcocer J., Suarez-Morales E., Diaz-Arce V., Marin L.E., Stenich B., (2002). Hydrogeochemical and biological characteristics of denotes in the Yucatán Peninsula (SE Mexico). Hydrobiologia 467, 215228.
Stenich B., Marin L.E., (1997). Determination of flow characteristics in the aquifer in northwest Yucatan Mexico. Journal of Hydrology 191, 315331.
Waliser D.E., Shi Z., Lanzante J.R., Oort A.H., (1999). The Hadley circulation: assessing NCDP/NCAR reanalysis and sparse in-situ estimates. Climate Dynamics 15, 719735.
Watanabe T., Winter A., Oba T., (2001). Seasonal changes in sea surface temperature and salinity during the Little Ice Age in the Caribbean Sea deduced from Mg/Ca and 18O/16O ratios in corals. Marine Geology 173, 2135.
White D.A., Hood C.S., (2004). Vegetation patterns and environmental gradients in tropical dry forests of the northern Yucatan Peninsula. Journal of Vegetation Science 15, 151161.
Whitmore T.J., Brenner M., Rood B.E., Japy K.E., (1991). Deoxygenation of a Florida lake during winter mixing. Limnology and Oceanography 36, 577585.
Whitmore T.J., Brenner M., Curtis J.H., Dahlin B.H., Leyden B.W., (1996). Holocene climatic and human influences on lakes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico: an interdisciplinary, paleolimnological approach. The Holocene 6, 273287.
Wilson E.M., (1980). Physical geography of the Yucatan Peninsula. Moseley E., Terry E.D., Yucatan: A World Apart. University of Alabama Press, 540.
Winter A., Ishioroshi H., Watanabe T., Oba T., Christy J., (2000). Caribbean sea surface temperatures: two-to-three degrees cooler than present during the Little Ice Age. Geophysical Research Letters 27, 33653368.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 260 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 21st November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.