Vegetation and climate of Auckland, New Zealand, since ca. 32 000 cal. yr ago: support for an extended LGM

Auckland occupies a climatically sensitive position close to a major biogeographic boundary in the southern mid-latitudes. A new pollen record from Kohuora maar crater, Auckland, displays vegetation and climatic changes for the past ca. 32 000 years. Of particular interest are the inferred climatic patterns for the first part of the interval, encompassing the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The Kohuora record corresponds closely with pollen records from other Auckland sites indicating that the patterns observed are at least regional in extent. It is also broadly consistent with a variety of palaeoenvironmental evidence from across New Zealand, including the glacial record from Westland, other palynological records from North Island, other palaeoecological records from the South Island, and aeolian quartz sequences from western North Island. These records show that glacial conditions prevailed across most, if not all, of New Zealand during the interval ca. 29-19 k cal. yr BP, longer and earlier than the LGM sensu stricto. We suggest that the term extended LGM (eLGM) may be more appropriate for the New Zealand region. Within this predominantly cold interval, the Auckland pollen records indicate a climatic amelioration for the interval ca. 26-24 k cal. yr BP, also consistent with other palaeocological data from Canterbury, that fall within a period of climate amelioration recognised between the first two eLGM glacial advances in Westland. We refer to this warming interval as the eLGM Interstadial. The ca. 27 k cal. yr BP Kawakawa/Oruanui tephra is instrumental in most of these inter-site comparisons and occurs after the first peak of eLGM cooling in a short-lived comparatively mild phase. A subsequent return to apparently colder climate in the Auckland records may indicate a volcanic cooling effect or, more likely, widespread landscape disturbance following this major eruption event. Strong correspondence between biotic responses, glacial fluctuations and aeolian quartz deposition linked to major shifts in strength and latitudinal extent of the southern westerlies suggest that both the eLGM and eLGM Interstadial may be more widely registered, at least across the Southern Ocean. Support for this assertion comes from parallel investigations in western and southernmost South America and isotopic and palaeoecological records from Southern Ocean marine cores. Recent reconstructions of the globally averaged ice-equivalent sea-level history are in line with this evidence from the Southern Hemisphere, suggesting that the eLGM may have a global registration. In light of these observations, we suggest a re-examination of the defined timing of the LGM along with renewed effort to establish climatic patterns during this period and understand their causes. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Newnham, R.M., Lowe, D.J., Giles, T.M. & Alloway, B.V. (2007). Vegetation and climate of Auckland, New Zealand, since ca 32,000 cal yr ago: support for an extended LGM. Journal of Quaternary Science 22, 517-534.
John Wiley & Sons
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