Peat humification records from Restionaceae bogs in northern New Zealand as potential indicators of Holocene precipitation, seasonality, and ENSO
Newnham, R. M., Hazell, Z. J., Charman, D. J., Lowe, D. J., Rees, A. B. H., Amesbury, M. J., … Jara, I. A. (2019). Peat humification records from Restionaceae bogs in northern New Zealand as potential indicators of Holocene precipitation, seasonality, and ENSO. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 218, 378–394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.036
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13177
In comparison with temperature reconstructions, New Zealand proxy records for paleo-precipitation are rare, despite the importance of precipitation in contemporary climate variability and for projected climate impacts. In this study, records of mid-late Holocene palaeomoisture variation were derived for two hydrologically separate ombrotrophic Restionaceae bogs in northern New Zealand, based on peat humification analysis. At each site, three cores were analysed for peat humification, facilitating both intra- and inter-site comparisons. Age models for the six sequences were developed using radiocarbon dating and tephrochronology. Twelve tephras (including six cryptotephras) were recognised, four of which were used to precisely link the two sites and to define start and end points for the records at 7027 ± 170 (Tuhua tephra) and 1718 ± 10 cal yr BP (Taupo tephra) (2σ-age ranges), respectively. We find individual differences between the six peat humification records at short-term timescales that are presumably due to local site factors, in particular changing vegetation and microtopography, or to changes in the composition of the material analysed. Stronger longer-term coherence is observed between all six records but is attributed to slow anaerobic decay over time because the implied trend towards wetter summers in the late Holocene cannot be corroborated by independent climate proxies. Despite these confounding factors, centennial scale shifts in bog surface wetness are a pervasive feature of all six records with varying degrees of overlap in time that show strong correspondence with El Niño-Southern Oscillation reconstructions from the eastern equatorial Pacific. These results indicate the potential for peat humification records from New Zealand's ombrotrophic bogs to elucidate past climate variability and also demonstrate the importance of developing multiple well-dated profiles from more than one site.
Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is the author's accepted version.