Date of this Version
Published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters 408 (2014), pp. 263–271
A record of the hydrogen isotopic composition of terrestrial leaf waxes (δDwax) in sediment cores from Lake Titicaca provides new insight into the precipitation history of the Central Andes and controls of South American Summer Monsoon (SASM) variability since the last glacial period. Comparison of the δDwax record with a 19-kyr δD record from the nearby Illimani ice core supports the interpretation that precipitation δD is the primary control on δDwax with a lesser but significant role for local evapotranspiration and other secondary influences on δDwax. The Titicaca δDwax record con-firms overall wetter conditions in the Central Andes during the last glacial period relative to a drier Holocene. During the last deglaciation, abrupt δDwax shifts correspond to millennial-scale events ob-served in the high-latitude North Atlantic, with dry conditions corresponding to the Bølling–Allerød and early Holocene periods and wetter conditions during late glacial and Younger Dryas intervals. We observe a trend of increasing monsoonal precipitation from the early to the late Holocene, consistent with summer insolation forcing of the SASM, but similar hydrologic variability on precessional timescales is not apparent during the last glacial period. Overall, this study demonstrates the relative importance of high-latitude versus tropical forcing as a dominant control on glacial SASM precipitation variability.