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Wetter or colder during the Last Glacial Maximum? Revisiting the pluvial lake question in southwestern North America

  • Kirsten M. Menking (a1), Roger Y. Anderson (a2), Nabil G. Shafike (a3), Kamran H. Syed (a4) and Bruce D. Allen (a5)...
Abstract

Well-preserved shorelines in Estancia basin and a relatively simple hydrologic setting have prompted several inquiries into the basin's hydrologic balance for the purpose of estimating regional precipitation during the late Pleistocene. Estimates have ranged from 86% to 150% of modern, the disparity largely the result of assumptions about past temperatures. In this study, we use an array of models for surface-water runoff, groundwater flow, and lake energy balance to examine previously proposed scenarios for late Pleistocene climate. Constraints imposed by geologic evidence of past lake levels indicate that precipitation for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) may have doubled relative to modern values during brief episodes of colder and wetter climate and that annual runoff was as much as 15% of annual precipitation during these episodes.

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*Corresponding author. Fax: +1 845 437 7577.

E-mail address: kimenking@vassar.edu(K.M. Menking).

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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