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Application of a midge-based inference model for air temperature reveals evidence of late-20th century warming in sub-alpine lakes in the central Great Basin, United States

Quaternary International
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2009.07.021
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Abstract Sediment cores were recovered from Stella Lake and Baker Lake, sub-alpine lakes located in Great Basin National Park, NV, in 2005 and 2007, respectively. The cores were analyzed for subfossil chironomid (Insecta: Diptera: Chironomidae) remains. Chronologies for the sediment cores, developed using 210Pb, indicate the cores span the 20th century. The midge communities present in the lakes experience muted compositional change through much of the 20th century; however, the post-AD 1980 interval is notable due to rapid lake-specific faunal turnover. The recently deposited sediment in Baker Lake is characterized by decreases in the relative of abundance of Psectrocladius semicirculatus/ sordillelus, Cladotanytarsus mancus group and Procladius, the local extirpation of Chironomus, and an increase the proportion of Sergentia, Tanytarsus type G and Tanytarsus type B. The Stella Lake midge community experienced a shift post-AD 1990 from an assemblage dominated by Tanytarsus type G to a P. semicirculatus/ sordillelus dominated community. Application of a chironomid-based inference model for mean July air temperature (MJAT), based on a calibration set developed for the Inter-Mountain West of the United States consisting of 79 lakes and 54 midge taxa ( r jack 2 = 0.55 °C, RMSEP = 0.9 °C, maximum bias = 1.66 °C), provided a means to reconstruct the 20th century temperature regime for the region. Stella Lake and Baker Lake experience large fluctuations in MJAT during the early to mid-20th century and consistently above average temperature during the late-20th century. The chironomid-inferred MJAT reconstructions for Stella Lake and Baker Lake track observed July temperature in the region encompassed by Nevada Climate Division #2 during the late-20th century.

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