High-latitude delta(exp 18)O archives deriving from meteoric water (e.g., tree-rings and ice-cores) can provide valuable information on past temperature variability, but stationarity of temperature signals in these archives depends on the stability of moisture source/trajectory and precipitation seasonality, both of which can be affected by atmospheric circulation changes. A tree-ring delta(exp 18)O record (AD 1780-2003) from the Mackenzie Delta is evaluated as a temperature proxy based on linear regression diagnostics. The primary source of moisture for this region is the North Pacific and, thus, North Pacific atmospheric circulation variability could potentially affect the tree-ring delta(exp 18)O-temperature signal. Over the instrumental period (AD 1892-2003), tree-ring delta(exp 18)O explained 29% of interannual variability in April-July minimum temperatures, and the explained variability increases substantially at lower-frequencies. A split-period calibration/verification analysis found the delta(exp 18)O-temperature relation was time-stable, which supported a temperature reconstruction back to AD 1780. The stability of the delta(exp 18)O-temperature signal indirectly implies the study region is insensitive to North Pacific circulation effects, since North Pacific circulation was not constant over the calibration period. Simulations from the NASA-GISS ModelE isotope-enabled general circulation model confirm that meteoric delta(exp 18)O and precipitation seasonality in the study region are likely insensitive to North Pacific circulation effects, highlighting the paleoclimatic value of tree-ring and possibly other delta(exp 18)O records from this region. Our delta(exp 18)O-based temperature reconstruction is the first of its kind in northwestern North America, and one of few worldwide, and provides a long-term context for evaluating recent climate warming in the Mackenzie Delta region.
Meteorology and Climatology
Climate Dynamics; 42; 4-Mar; 771-785