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27 mars 2017
Improvement of isotope-based climate reconstructions in Patagonia through a better understanding of climate influences on isotopic fractionation in tree rings

Fig. Correlation between δ13C chronologies from F. cupressoides and N. pumilio and monthly meteorological parameters. 9-month window corresponding to the growing season from September to May.

This study is the first presenting annually resolved chronologies of both δ18O and δ13C in Nothofagus pumilio and Fitzroya cupressoides trees from Northern Patagonia. Interannual variability in δ18O and δ13C was assessed over the period 1952-2011. Based on these chronologies, we determined the primary climatic controls on stable isotopes and tree physiological responses to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (ca), temperature and humidity. Changes in specific intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) were inferred from variations in δ13C whereas the effects of CO2 increase on stomatal conductance were explored using δ18O. Over the 60-year period, iWUE increased significantly (by ca. 25%) in coincidence with the rise of ca. The two species appear to have different strategies of leaf gas-exchange. Whereas iWUE variations were likely driven by both stomatal conductance and photo-synthetic assimilation rates in Fc, they were largely related to stomatal conductance in Np. After removing the low-frequency trends related to increasing ca, significant relation-ships between δ13C and summer temperatures were recorded for both species.  However, δ13C variations in Fc were more strongly influenced by summer temperatures than in Np Our results advocate for an indirect effect of summer temperatures on stable isotope ratios, which are mostly influenced by sunlight radiation in Fc and relative humidity/soil moisture in Np. δ13C variations in Fc were spatially correlated to a large area south of 35°S in southern South America. These promising results encourage the use of δ13C variations in Fc for reconstructing past variations in temperature and large-scale circulation indexes such as the Southern Annular Mode.

 

Authors : A. Lavergne, V. Daux V., R. Villalba , M. Pierre, M. Stievenard, A. Srur

Réf. : Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 459, 372-380.

 

 

 

 

 

Maj : 27/03/2017 (129)

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