A primary step in the interpretation of speleothem stable isotope records ( 18 O/ 16 O and 13 C/ 12 C) is to conduct a comparison with other local palaeoclimate proxies. Here, two new master speleothem δ 18 O and δ 13 C records (one from eastern North Island, and the other from western/southern South Island, New Zealand) are evaluated against independent precipitation and temperature proxy information to assess their palaeoclimate reconstruction potential. This comparison also resulted in a serendipitous opportunity to reconstruct past circulation using climate regime classification [Lorrey, A.M., Fowler, A.M., Salinger, J., 2007a. Regional climate regime classification as a qualitative tool for interpreting multi-proxy palaeoclimate data spatial patterns: a New Zealand case study. Palaeo-3, in press], specifically because these two regional climate districts are hyper-sensitive to westerly circulation changes, and in many cases, exhibit contrasting climate character in response to circulation anomalies.For both the western South Island and the eastern North Island master speleothem δ 13 C records, variations tracked changes in relative regional precipitation. The δ 18 O master speleothem record for both regions varied with temperature change. Both records contain strong regional climate signals that suggest they have good value for palaeoclimate reconstruction. The ensuing attempt at a multi-proxy reconstruction of regional climate regimes from the compiled proxies indicates past circulation in the New Zealand sector has varied considerably during the past four millennia. Centennial-scale circulation changes for the past 4000 years are evident, and are analogous to modern Blocking, Zonal and Trough regime types [Kidson J. W., 2000. An analysis of New Zealand synoptic types and their use in defining weather regimes. International Journal of Climatology 20, 299–316] that characterise changes in present-day (prevailing) westerly circulation. This palaeoclimate reconstruction indicates modern regional climate regime classification can be extended at least as far back as the temporal coverage of the records presented here, and it can likely be improved on with better dating control and the addition of new records with higher resolution. It is also anticipated that future work will expand to include more proxy data from across New Zealand to improve the clarity of past climate regime occurrence for the Late Holocene.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.