Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Impacts of climate and river flooding on the hydro-ecology of a floodplain basin, Peace-Athabasca Delta, Canada since A.D. 1700

  • Brent B. Wolfe (a1) (a2), Tammy L. Karst-Riddoch (a3), Sheila R. Vardy (a2), Matthew D. Falcone (a2), Roland I. Hall (a3) and Thomas W.D. Edwards (a2)...

Multi-proxy paleolimnological analyses on lake sediment cores from "Spruce Island Lake" (58° 50.82′ N, 111° 28.84′ W), a perched basin in the northern Peace sector of the Peace-Athabasca Delta (PAD), Canada, give insights into the relative roles of flow regulation of the Peace River and climatic variability on the basin hydro-ecology. Results indicate substantial variability in basin hydro-ecology over the past 300 years ranging from seasonal to periodic desiccation in the 1700s to markedly wetter conditions during the early 1800s to early 1900s. The reconstruction is consistent with (1) dry climatic conditions that defined the peak of the Little Ice Age and subsequent amelioration evident in conventional ring-width and isotopic analyses of tree-ring records located hydrologically and climatically upstream of the PAD, and (2) Peace River flood history inferred from sub-annual magnetic susceptibility measurements from another lake sediment record in the Peace sector of the PAD. Although regulation of the Peace River for hydroelectric power generation since 1968 has long been considered a major stressor of the PAD ecosystem leading to reduced frequency of ice-jam and open-water flooding and an extended period of drying, our results show that current hydro-ecological status is not unprecedented as both wetter and drier conditions have persisted for decades in the recent past under natural climatic variability. Furthermore, paleolimnological evidence from Spruce Island Lake indicates that recently observed dryness is part of a longer trend which began some 20�"40 years prior to Peace River regulation.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo ON, Canada N2L 3C5. Fax: +1 519 725 1342. E-mail (B.B. Wolfe).
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

P. Barker J.C. Fontes F. Gasse J.C. Druart (1994). Experimental dissolution of diatom silica in concentrated salt solutions and implications for paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Limnology and Oceanography 39, 179.

M.L. Coleman T.J. Shepherd J.J. Durham J.E. Rouse G.R. Moore (1982). Reduction of water with zinc for hydrogen isotope analysis. Analytical Chemistry 54, 993995.

T.B. Coplen (1996). New guidelines for reporting stable hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen isotope-ratio data. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 60, 33593360.

H. Craig (1961). Isotopic variations in meteoric waters. Science 133, 17021703.

T.W.D. Edwards W. Graf P. Trimborn W. Stichler J. Lipp H.D. Payer (2000). δ 13C response surface resolves humidity and temperature signals in trees. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 64, 161167.

S. Epstein T.K. Mayeda (1953). Variations in the 18O/16O ratio in natural waters. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 4, 213

J. Esper E.R. Cook F.H. Schweingruber (2002). Low-frequency signals in long tree-ring chronologies for reconstructing past temperature variability. Science 295, 22502253.

W.W. Flynn (1968). The determination of low levels of 210Po in environmental materials. Analytica Chimica Acta 43, 221227.

J.J. Gibson (2001). Forest-tundra water balance signals traced by isotopic enrichment in lakes. Journal of Hydrology 251, 113.

J.J. Gibson T.W.D. Edwards (2002). Regional surface water balance and evaporation–Transpiration partitioning from a stable isotope survey of lakes in northern Canada. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 16, 2 10.1029/2001GB001839

J.R. Glew (1988). A portable extruding device for close internal sectioning of unconsolidated core samples. Journal of Paleolimnology 1, 235239.

J.R. Glew (1989). A new trigger mechanism for sediment samplers. Journal of Paleolimnology 2, 241244.

W.D. Gummer K.J. Cash F.J. Wrona T.D. Prowse (2000). The Northern River Basins Study: context and design. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery 8, 716.

R.I. Hall J.P. Smol (1996). Paleolimnological assessment of long-term water-quality changes in south-central Ontario lakes affected by cottage development and acidification. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53, 117.

R.I. Hall P.R. Leavitt A.S. Dixit R. Quinlan J.P. Smol (1999). Effects of agriculture, urbanization and climate on water quality in the northern Great Plains. Limnology and Oceanography 44, 739756.

O. Heiri A.F. Lotter G. Lemcke (2001). Loss on ignition as a method for estimating organic and carbonate content in sediments: reproducibility and comparability. Journal of Paleolimnology 25, 101110.

P.A. Meyers E. Lallier-Vergès (1999). Lacustrine sedimentary organic matter records of late Quaternary paleoclimates. Journal of Paleolimnology 21, 345372.

A. Pietroniro T. Prowse D.L. Peters (1999). Hydrologic assessment of an inland freshwater delta using multi-temporal satellite remote sensing. Hydrological Processes 13, 24832498.

T.D. Prowse F.M. Conly (1998). Impacts of climatic variability and flow regulation on ice-jam flooding of a northern delta. Hydrological Processes 12, 15891610.

T.D. Prowse F.M. Conly (2000). Multiple-hydrologic stressors of a northern delta ecosystem. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery 8, 1726.

R.V. Tyson (1995). Sedimentary organic matter. Chapman & Hall, London.(615 pp.)

E. Watson B.H. Luckman (2001). Dendroclimatic reconstruction of precipitation for sites in the southern Canadian Rockies. The Holocene 11, 203213.

K. Wei F. Gasse (1999). Oxygen isotopes in lacustrine carbonates of West China revisited: implications for post glacial changes in summer monsoon circulation. Quaternary Science Reviews 18, 13151334.

B.B. Wolfe R. Aravena M.B. Abbott G.O. Seltzer J.J. Gibson (2001a). Reconstruction of paleohydrology and paleohumidity from oxygen isotope records in the Bolivian Andes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 176, 177192.

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? *



Abstract views

Total abstract views: 14 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 27th April 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.