Climate reconstruction from pollen and δ¹³C records using inverse vegetation modeling – Implication for past and future climates

Hatté, Christine; Rousseau, Denis-Didier; Guiot, J.

An improved inverse vegetation model has been designed to better specify both temperature and precipitation estimates from vegetation descriptions. It is based on the BIOME4 vegetation model and uses both vegetation δ¹³C and biome as constraints. Previous inverse models based on only one of the two proxies were already improvements over standard reconstruction methods such as the modern analog since these did not take into account some external forcings, for example CO₂ concentration.
This new approach makes it possible to describe a potential "isotopic niche" defined by analogy with the "climatic niche" theory. Boreal and temperate biomes simulated by BIOME4 are considered in this study. We demonstrate the impact of CO₂ concentration on biome existence domains by replacing a "most likely biome" with another with increased CO₂ concentration. Additionally, the climate imprint on δ¹³C between and within biomes is shown: the colder the biome, the lighter its potential isotopic niche; and the higher the precipitation, the lighter the δ¹³C.
For paleoclimate purposes, previous inverse models based on either biome or δ¹³C did not allow informative paleoclimatic reconstructions of both precipitation and temperature. Application of the new approach to the Eemian of La Grande Pile palynological and geochemical records reduces the range in precipitation values by more than 50% reduces the range in temperatures by about 15% compared to previous inverse modeling approaches. This shows evidence of climate instabilities during Eemian period that can be correlated with independent continental and marine records.


Also Published In

Climate of the Past

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
June 20, 2013