Skip to main content

Decadally Resolved Lateglacial Radiocarbon Evidence from New Zealand Kauri

  • Alan Hogg (a1), John Southon (a2), Chris Turney (a3), Jonathan Palmer (a3), Christopher Bronk Ramsey (a4), Pavla Fenwick (a5), Gretel Boswijk (a6), Ulf Büntgen (a7), Michael Friedrich (a8) (a9), Gerhard Helle (a10), Konrad Hughen (a11), Richard Jones (a12), Bernd Kromer (a8), Alexandra Noronha (a2), Frederick Reinig (a7), Linda Reynard (a13), Richard Staff (a4) and Lukas Wacker (a14)...

The Last Glacial–Interglacial Transition (LGIT; 15,000–11,000 cal BP) was characterized by complex spatiotemporal patterns of climate change, with numerous studies requiring accurate chronological control to decipher leads from lags in global paleoclimatic, paleoenvironmental, and archaeological records. However, close scrutiny of the few available tree-ring chronologies and radiocarbon-dated sequences composing the IntCal13 14C calibration curve indicates significant weakness in 14C calibration across key periods of the LGIT. Here, we present a decadally resolved atmospheric 14C record derived from New Zealand kauri spanning the Lateglacial from ~13,100–11,365 cal BP. Two floating kauri 14C time series, curve-matched to IntCal13, serve as a 14C backbone through the Younger Dryas. The floating Northern Hemisphere (NH) 14C data sets derived from the YD-B and Central European Lateglacial Master tree-ring series are matched against the new kauri data, forming a robust NH 14C time series to ~14,200 cal BP. Our results show that IntCal13 is questionable from ~12,200–11,900 cal BP and the ~10,400 BP 14C plateau is approximately 5 decades too short. The new kauri record and repositioned NH pine 14C series offer a refinement of the international 14C calibration curves IntCal13 and SHCal13, providing increased confidence in the correlation of global paleorecords.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding authors. Email:;
Hide All
Bard E, Arnold M, Hamelin B, Tisnerat-Laborde N, Cabioch G. 1998. Radiocarbon calibration by means of mass spectrometric 230Th /234U and 14C ages of corals: an updated database including samples from Barbados, Mururoa and Tahiti. Radiocarbon 40(3):10851092.
Beck W, Richards D, Edwards R, Silverman B, Smart P, Donahue D, Hererra-Osterheld S, Burr G, Calsoyas L, Jull T, Biddulph D. 2001. Extremely large variations of atmospheric 14C concentration during the last glacial period. Science 292(5526):24532458.
Björck S, Walker MJC, Cwynar LC, Johnsen S, Knudsen K-L, Lowe JJ, Wohlfarth B, INTIMATE members. 1998. An event stratigraphy for the Last Termination in the North Atlantic region based on the Greenland ice-core record: a proposal by the INTIMATE group. Journal of Quaternary Science 13:283292.
Blockley S, Lane C, Hardiman M, Rasmussen S, Seierstad I, Steffensen J, Svensson A, Lotter A, Turney C, Bronk Ramsey C, INTIMATE members. 2012. Synchronisation of palaeoenvironmental records over the last 60,000 years, and an extended INTIMATE event stratigraphy to 48,000 b2k. Quaternary Science Reviews 36:210.
Boswijk G, Fowler A, Lorrey A, Palmer J, Ogden J. 2006. Extension of the New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) chronology to 1724 BC. The Holocene 16(2):188199.
Boswijk G, Fowler A, Palmer J, Fenwick P, Hogg A, Lorrey A, Wunder J. 2014. The late Holocene kauri chronology: assessing the potential of a 4500-yr record for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Quaternary Science Reviews 90:128142.
Bronk Ramsey C. 2009. Dealing with outliers and offsets in radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon 51(3):10231045.
Bronk Ramsey C, Staff RA, Bryant CL, Brock F, Kitagawa H, van der Plicht J, Schlolaut G, Marshall MH, Brauer A, Lamb HF, Payne RL. 2012. A complete terrestrial radiocarbon record for 11.2 to 52.8 kyr BP. Science 338(6105):370374.
Burr GS, Beck JW, Taylor FW, Récy J, Edwards RL, Cabioch G, Corrège T, Donahue DJ, O’Malley JM. 1998. A high-resolution radiocarbon calibration between 11,700 and 12,400 calendar years BP derived from 230Th ages of corals from Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu. Radiocarbon 40(3):10931105.
Burr GS, Galang C, Taylor FW, Gallup CD, Edwards RL, Cutler KB, Quirk B. 2004. Radiocarbon results from a 13-kyr BP coral from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Radiocarbon 46(3):12111224.
Cooper A, Turney C, Hughen KA, Brook BW, McDonald HG, Bradshaw CJA. 2015. Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover. Science 349(6248):602606.
Cutler KB, Gray SC, Burr GS, Edwards RL, Taylor FW, Cabioch G, Beck JW, Cheng H, Moore J. 2004. Radiocarbon calibration to 50 kyr BP with paired 14C and 230Th dating of corals from Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Radiocarbon 46(3):11271160.
Dillehay TD, Ramírez C, Pino M, Collins MB, Rossen J, Pino-Navarro JD. 2008. Monte Verde: seaweed, food, medicine, and the peopling of South America. Science 320(5877):784786.
Durand N, Deschamps P, Bard E, Hamelin B, Camoin G, Alexander L, Thomas A, Henderson G, Yokoyama Y, Matsuzaki H. 2013. Comparison of 14C and U-Th ages in coral from 10DP310 cores offshore Tahiti. Radiocarbon 55(4):19471974.
Edwards R, Beck W, Burr G, Donahue D, Chappell J, Bloom A, Druffel E, Taylor F. 1993. A large drop in atmospheric 14C/12C and reduced melting in the Younger Dryas, documented with 230Th ages of corals. Science 260(5110):962968.
Fairbanks RG, Mortlock RA, Chiu TC, Cao L, Kaplan A, Guilderson TP, Fairbanks TW, Bloom AL, Grootes PM, Nadeau M-J. 2005. Radiocarbon calibration curve spanning 0 to 50,000 years BP based on paired 230Th/234U/238U and 14C dates on pristine corals. Quaternary Science Reviews 24(16–17):17811796.
Friedrich M, Kromer B, Spurk M, Hofmann J, Kaiser KF. 1999. Paleo-environment and radiocarbon calibration as derived from Lateglacial/Early Holocene tree-ring chronologies. Quaternary International 61:2739.
Friedrich M, Kromer B, Kaiser KF, Spurk M, Hughen KA, Johnsen SJ. 2001a. High resolution climate signals in the Bølling/Allerød Interstadial (Greenland Interstadial 1) as reflected in European tree-ring chronologies compared to marine varves and ice-core records. Quaternary Science Reviews 20(11):12231232.
Friedrich M, Knipping M, von der Kroft P, Renno A, Ullrich O, Vollbrecht J. 2001b. Ein Wald am Ende der letzten Eiszeit. Untersuchungen zur Besiedelungs-, Landschafts- und Vegetationsentwicklung an einem verlandeten See im Tagebau Reichwalde, Niederschlesischer Oberlausitzkreis. Arbeits- und For- schungsberichte zur sächsischen Bodendenkmalpflege 43:2194.
Friedrich M, Remmele S, Kromer B, Hofmann J, Spurk M, Kaiser KF, Orcel C, Küppers M. 2004. The 12,460-year Hohenheim oak and pine tree-ring chronology from central Europe—a unique annual record for radiocarbon calibration and paleoenvironment reconstructions. Radiocarbon 46(3):11111122.
Hanebuth T, Stattegger K, Grootes PM. 2000. Rapid flooding of the Sunda Shelf: a Late-Glacial sea-level record. Science 288(5468):10331035.
Hoffmann DL, Beck JW, Richards DA, Smart PL, Singarayer JS, Ketchmark T, Hawkesworth CJ. 2010. Towards radiocarbon calibration beyond 28ka using speleothems from the Bahamas. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 289(1):110.
Hogg A, McCormac F, Higham T, Baillie M, Palmer J. 2002. High-precision 14C measurements of contemporaneous tree-ring dated wood from the British Isles and New Zealand: AD 1850–950. Radiocarbon 44(3):633640.
Hogg A, Turney C, Palmer J, Southon J, Kromer B, Bronk Ramsey C, Boswijk G, Fenwick P, Noronha A, Staff R, Friedrich M. 2013a. The New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) research project: a radiocarbon dating intercomparison of Younger Dryas wood and implications for IntCal13. Radiocarbon 55(4):20352048.
Hogg A, Hua Q, Blackwell P, Niu M, Buck C, Guilderson T, Heaton T, Palmer J, Reimer P, Reimer R, Turney C, Zimmerman S. 2013b. SHCal13 Southern Hemisphere calibration, 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55(4):18891903.
Hogg A, Southon J, Turney C, Palmer J, Bronk Ramsey C, Fenwick P, Boswijk G, Friedrich M, Helle G, Hughen K, Jones R, Kromer B, Noronha A, Reynard L, Staff R, Wacker L. 2016. Punctuated shutdown of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation during Greenland Stadial 1. Scientific Reports 6:25902.
Hua Q, Barbetti M, Fink D, Kaiser KF, Friedrich M, Kromer B, Levchenko VA, Zoppi U, Smith AM, Bertuch F. 2009. Atmospheric 14C variations derived from tree rings during the early Younger Dryas. Quaternary Science Reviews 28(25):29822990.
Hughen K, Southon J, Lehman S, Overpeck T. 2000. Synchronous radiocarbon and climate shifts during the last deglaciation. Science 290(5498):19511954.
Hughen KA, Southon JR, Bertrand CJ, Frantz B, Zermeño P. 2004. Cariaco Basin calibration update: revisions to calendar and 14C chronologies for core PL07-58PC. Radiocarbon 46(3):11611187.
Hughen K, Southon J, Lehman S, Bertrand C, Turnbull J. 2006. Marine-derived 14C calibration and activity record for the past 50,000 years updated from the Cariaco Basin. Quaternary Science Reviews 25(23):32163227.
Kaiser KF, Friedrich M, Miramont C, Kromer B, Sgier M, Schaub M, Boeren I, Remmele S, Talamo S, Guibal F, Sivan O. 2012. Challenging process to make the Lateglacial tree-ring chronologies from Europe absolute—an inventory. Quaternary Science Reviews 36:7890.
Kromer B, Friedrich M, Hughen KA, Kaiser F, Remmele S, Schaub M, Talamo S. 2004. Late Glacial 14C ages from a floating, 1382-ring pine chronology. Radiocarbon 46(3):12031209.
Lowe JJ, Rasmussen SO, Björck S, Hoek WZ, Steffensen JP, Walker MJC, Yu ZC, INTIMATE Members. 2008. Synchronisation of palaeoenvironmental events in the North Atlantic region during the Last Termination: a revised protocol recommended by the INTIMATE group. Quaternary Science Reviews 27(1):617.
Marra MJ, Alloway BV, Newnham RM. 2006. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction of a well-preserved Stage 7 forest sequence catastrophically buried by basaltic eruptive deposits, northern New Zealand. Quaternary Science Reviews 25(17):21432161.
Mayle FE, Bell M, Birks HH, Brooks SJ, Coope GR, Lowe JJ, Sheldrick C, Shijie L, Turney CSM, Walker MJC. 1999. Climate variations in Britain during the Last Glacial-Holocene transition (15.0–11.5 cal ka BP): comparison with the GRIP ice-core record. Journal of the Geological Society of London 156:411423.
McGlone MS, Turney CSM, Wilmshurst JM, Pahnke K. 2010. Divergent trends in land and ocean temperature in the Southern Ocean over the past 18,000 years. Nature Geoscience 3:622626.
Metcalf JL, Turney C, Barnett R, Martin F, Bray SC, Vilstrup JT, Orlando L, Salas-Gismondi R, Loponte D, Medina M, De Nigris M. 2016. Synergistic roles of climate warming and human occupation in Patagonian megafaunal extinctions during the Last Deglaciation. Science Advances 2(6):e1501682.
Muscheler R, Kromer B, Björck S, Svensson A, Friedrich M, Kaiser KF, Southon J. 2008. Tree rings and ice cores reveal 14C calibration uncertainties during the Younger Dryas. Nature Geoscience 1(4):263267.
Muscheler R, Adolphi F, Knudsen MF. 2014. Assessing the differences between the IntCal and Greenland ice-core time scales for the last 14,000 years via the common cosmogenic radionuclide variations. Quaternary Science Reviews 106:8187.
Ogden J, Wilson A, Hendy C, Hogg A, Newnham R. 1992. The late Quaternary history of kauri (Agathis australis) in NZ, and its climatic significance. Journal of Biogeography 19(6):611622.
Palmer J, Lorrey A, Turney CS, Hogg A, Baillie M, Fifield K, Ogden J. 2006. Extension of New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) tree-ring chronologies into Oxygen Isotope Stage (OIS) 3. Journal of Quaternary Science 21(7):779787.
Palmer JG, Turney CS, Hogg AG, Lorrey AM, Jones RJ. 2015. Progress in refining the global radiocarbon calibration curve using New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) tree-ring series from Oxygen Isotope Stage 3. Quaternary Geochronology 27:158163.
Petchey F, Ulm S. 2012. Marine reservoir variation in the Bismarck region: an evaluation of spatial and temporal variation in ΔR and R over the last 3000 years. Radiocarbon 54(1):145158.
Rach O, Brauer A, Wilkes H, Sachse D. 2014. Delayed hydrological response to Greenland cooling at the onset of the Younger Dryas in western Europe. Nature Geoscience 7:109112.
Rasmussen SO, Bigler M, Blockley SP, Blunier T, Buchardt SL, Clausen HB, Cvijanovic I, Dahl-Jensen D, Johnsen SJ, Fischer H, Gkinis V, Guillevic M, Hoek WZ, Lowe JJ, Pedro JB, Popp T, Seierstad IK, Steffensen JP, Svensson AM, Vallelonga P, Vinther BM, Walker MJC, Wheatley JJ, Winstrup M. 2014. A stratigraphic framework for abrupt climatic changes during the Last Glacial period based on three synchronized Greenland ice-core records: refining and extending the INTIMATE event stratigraphy. Quaternary Science Reviews 106:1428.
Reimer PJ, Bard E, Bayliss A, Beck JW, Blackwell PG, Bronk Ramsey C, Grootes PM, Guilderson TP, Haflidason H, Hajdas I, Hatté C, Heaton TJ, Hoffmann DL, Hogg AG, Hughen KA, Kaiser KF, Kromer B, Manning SW, Niu M, Reimer RW, Richards DA, Scott EM, Southon JR, Staff RA, Turney CSM, van der Plicht J. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55(4):18691887.
Schaub M. 2007. Lateglacial environmental conditions on the Swiss Plateau. A multi-proxy approach using tree rings and sediment-based proxies. In: Haeberli W, Maisch M, editors. Physische Geographie 54. 164 p.
Schaub M, Kaiser F, Kromer B, Talamo S. 2005. Extension of the Swiss Lateglacial tree-ring chronologies. Dendrochronologia 23:1118.
Schaub M, Kaiser F, Frank D, Buentgen U, Kromer B, Talamo S. 2008a. Environmental change during the Allerød and Younger Dryas reconstructed from tree-ring data. Boreas 37(1):7486.
Schaub M, Büntgen U, Kaiser F, Kromer B, Talamo S, Andersen K, Rasmussen S. 2008b. Lateglacial environmental variability derived from Swiss tree rings. Quaternary Science Reviews 27(1):2941.
Southon J, Noronha AL, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Wang Y. 2012. A high-resolution record of atmospheric 14C based on Hulu Cave speleothem H82. Quaternary Science Reviews 33:3241.
Stuiver M, Polach H. 1977. Discussion: reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19(3):353363.
Turney CSM, Kershaw AP, Lowe JJ, van der Kaars S, Johnston R, Rule S, Moss P, Radke L, Tibby J, McGlone MS, Wilmshurst JM, Vandergoes MJ, Fitzsimons SJ, Bryant C, James S, Branch NP, Cowley J, Kalin RM, Ogle N, Jacobsen G, Fifield LK. 2006. Climatic variability in the southwest Pacific during the Last Termination (20–10 kyr BP). Quaternary Science Reviews 25(9–10):886903.
Turney C, Fifield K, Palmer J, Hogg A, Baillie M, Galbraith R, Ogden J, Lorrey A, Tims S. 2007. Towards a radiocarbon calibration for Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 using New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis). Radiocarbon 49(2):447457.
Turney CSM, Palmer J, Bronk Ramsey C, Adolphi F, Muscheler R, Hughen KA, Staff RA, Jones RT, Thomas ZA, Fogwill CJ, Hogg A. 2016. High-precision dating and correlation of ice, marine and terrestrial sequences spanning Heinrich Event 3: testing mechanisms of interhemispheric change using New Zealand ancient kauri (Agathis australis). Quaternary Science Reviews 137:126134.
WAIS Divide Project Members. 2015. Precise interpolar phasing of abrupt climate change during the last ice age. Nature 520(7549):661665.
Waters MR, Stafford TW Jr. 2007. Redefining the age of Clovis: implications for the peopling of the Americas. Science 315(5815):11221126.
Wigley T, Briffa K, Jones P. 1984. On the average value of correlated time series, with applications in dendroclimatology and hydrometeorology. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 23:201213.
Recommend this journal

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

  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Hogg supplementary material
Hogg supplementary material 1

 Excel (126 KB)
126 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 138 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 707 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 24th October 2016 - 17th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.