A regional-scale climate reconstruction of the last 4000 years from lakes in the Nebraska Sand Hills, USA

TitleA regional-scale climate reconstruction of the last 4000 years from lakes in the Nebraska Sand Hills, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSchmieder, J, Fritz, SC, Swinehart, JB, Shinneman, ALC, Wolfe, AP, Miller, G, Daniels, N, Jacobs, KC, Grimm, EC
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Pagination1797 - 1812
Date PublishedJan-06-2011
Keywordsdiatoms, Droughts, Great Plains, Holocene, lakes, Nebraska Sand Hills, paleolimnology

High-resolution paleohydrological reconstructions were carried out in five shallow lakes in the Nebraska Sand Hills across an eastewest transect in order to 1) determine whether long-term droughts of the past 4000 years were spatially and temporally coherent across the region, 2) distinguish local variation in
climate or hydrology from regional patterns of change, and 3) compare the paleolimnological results with the existing dune-inferred drought records. Diatom-inferred lake-level was reconstructed for all sites and compared with other regional records. Alterations between high and low lake-levels were
frequent during the past 4000 years, which suggests that shifts between dry and wet periods were prevalent across the Sand Hills. Extended multi-decadal to centennial-scale droughts were more common prior to 2000 years BP, while the last two millennia were hydrologically more variable and climate conditions alternated on shorter timescales. Despite some discrepancies among the five records, the paleohydrological reconstructions refine the Holocene drought history of the Nebraska Sand Hills, particularly between w2200 and 4000 cal a BP. Many of the observed drought events are contemporaneous with severe droughts documented at sites in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, lending support for the severity and regional significance of these events in western North America.