Last interglacial climates of south-eastern Australia: plant and beetle-based reconstructions from Yarra Creek, King Island, Tasmania

Nicholas Porch, Gregory J. Jordan, David M Price, Richard W Barnes, Michael Macphail, Mike Pemberton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper explores the palaeoclimatic significance of a fossil plant and insect record from Yarra Creek, on King Island, between Tasmania and the Australian mainland. The record dates, based upon a thermoluminescence chronology and other evidence, to Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS 5); the exact timing is impossible to ascertain given the resolution of the thermoluminescence results and the presence of an unconformity in the dated section. The presence of a cool-temperate rainforest flora, outside its modern range, and other independent evidence, suggest the sequence may represent the last interglacial (MIS 5e) rather than a later MIS 5 substage. Using coexistence methods that compare modern climatic ranges of the taxa in the assemblage we reconstruct independent beetle and plant based annual and seasonal temperate and precipitation parameters. The results imply the assemblage was deposited under a wetter summer climate and suggest conditions of enhanced temperature seasonality. It is probable that enhanced temperature seasonality is a methodological artefact reflecting the rarity of extremely equable climates (like King Island) in modern climate space. This would indicate a limitation of most methods of palaeoclimatic reconstruction that rely on modern datasets - it is only possible to reconstruct past climates as being within the range of values in that currently exist in modern climate space. Crown
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3197-3210
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Volume28
    Issue number27-28
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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