Holocene Aridity and Storm Phases, Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, USA

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


A bottomland flora that prevailed between ∼ 9900 and 6000 cal yr B.P. in a North Carolina stream valley may not reflect a regionally much wetter Atlantic climate, coeval with record drought in the Great Plains region and assumed dry Gulf coastal conditions. Such conditions were inferred for 6000 ± 1000 yr ago when the Bermuda High may have consistently occupied summer positions far to the NE. Arid episodes coeval with the Little River local wet interval are known from eolian sediments and pollen spectra in the Atlantic and the Gulf coastal plain. For multiple reasons, the regional extent, intensity, and duration of coastal aridity and alternating wet phases and the Bermuda High positions are not yet adequately constrained. The climate and edaphic causes for the steadily growing predominance of southern pines over hardwoods, achieved between ∼ 8900 and 4200 cal yr B.P. at different sites at different times are similarly still unresolved. New data from Shelby Lake, AL, reconfirms that no credible field or other proxy evidence exists for a previously postulated "catastrophic Gulf hurricane phase" in the late Holocene. © 2005 University of Washington. All rights reserved.

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Quaternary Research





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