Late Pleistocene to modern precipitation changes at the Paranal clay pan, central Atacama Desert

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Title:Main Title: Late Pleistocene to modern precipitation changes at the Paranal clay pan, central Atacama Desert
Description:Abstract: The Atacama Desert in Chile is known to be one of the driest deserts on Earth, with dominating hyperaridity at least since the Miocene. During recent times, however, especially the southern part of the Atacama repeatedly experienced exceptional precipitation events, like in 2015 and 2017. Locally, these events with high rainfall rates caused catastrophic floods with significant destruction and human fatalities. Although the meteorological drivers of these heavy rains are widely understood, only little is known about the frequency and amplitude of similar events on geological timescales. Here we present the results of a study on an endorheic clay pan at the southern edge of the hyperarid core of the Atacama, an area with a mean precipitation of ap-prox. 5 mm per year. A modern ground-truthing approach combining sediment data, remote-sensing and meteorological data as well as climate-modelling was applied. Our observations indicate that the clay pan reacted very sensitively to local precipitation during the past 30 years, with four events >20 mm total rain causing sufficient surface run-off in the catchment to partially flood the basin. Comparative analyses of the four events illustrate that the amount of run-off is dependent on the maximum rain rate during the events rather than the total rain sum. A 1.88-m long sediment core recovered from the centre of the clay pan records the local hydrological and -environmental history since the Late Pleistocene. Sedimentological, mineralogical, geochemical, and biological core analyses imply strong variations in the ampli-tude of the recorded rainfall, with a clear shift from enhanced alluvial activity caused by higher-amplitude rain events during the Late Pleistocene to lower-amplitude Holocene events. The Holocene background sedimentation is superimposed by seven severe “Millennial-scale rain events”, which imply precipitation maxima on sub-orbital timescales that are potentially driven by changes in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The results of the study shed new light on the glacial-interglacial but also the sub-orbital precipitation variability in the Coastal Cordil-lera of the Atacama Desert and its potential driving mechanisms, and provide perspectives of the future precipitation development in the region under progressive global warming.
Identifier:10.5880/CRC1211DB.68 (DOI)
Citation Advice:This is a preprint of the revised version submitted to Global and Plenetary Change
Responsible Party
Creator:Volker Wennrich (Author)
Contributors:Christoph Böhm (Data Collector), Dominik Brill (Data Collector), Rafael Carballeira (Data Collector), Dirk Hoffmeister (Data Collector), Andrea Jaeschke (Data Collector), Florian Kerber (Data Collector), Antonio Maldonado (Data Collector), Matthias May (Data Collector), Lester Olivares (Data Collector), Stephan Opitz (Data Collector), Janet Rethemeyer (Data Collector), Mark Reyers (Data Collector), Benedikt Ritter (Data Collector), Jan Schween (Data Collector), Fatma Sevinç (Data Collector), Johanna Steiner (Data Collector), Katharina Walber-Hellmann (Data Collector), Martin Melles (Project Leader)
Funding Reference:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): CRC 1211: Earth - Evolution at the Dry Limit
Publisher:Zenodo
Publication Year:2023
Topic
CRC1211 Topic:Climate
Related Subprojects:A2, A1, A3, D4, Z2, Z3
Subjects:Keywords: Paleoclimate Proxies, Climate Models
Geogr. Information Topic:Climatology/Meteorology/Atmosphere
File Details
Filename:Paranal_MS_Wennrich_rev_final.pdf
Data Type:Data Paper - Paper Preprint
File Size:8.1 MB
Date:Created: 19.11.2023
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Language:English
Status:In Process
Constraints
Download Permission:Only Own Subproject
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Access Limitations:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Licence:[CRC1211DB] Data policy agreement
Geographic
Specific Information - Publication
Publication Status:Submitted
Review Status:Not peer reviewed
Publication Type:Article
Article Type:Electronic
Source:Zenodo
Source Website:https://zenodo.org/records/10136681
Number of Pages:63 (1 - 63)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Volker Wennrich
Metadata Created:19.11.2023
Metadata Last Updated:02.01.2024
Subproject:A2
Funding Phase:2
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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