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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  08 Apr 2020

08 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Giant dust particles at Nevado Illimani: a proxy of summertime deep convection over the Bolivian Altiplano

Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau1, Jefferson Cardia Simões1,2, Barbara Delmonte3, Patrick Ginot4, Giovanni Baccolo3, Chiara Ileana Paleari3, Elena Di Stefano3, Elena Korotkikh2, Douglas S. Introne2, Valter Maggi3, Eduardo Garzanti3, and Sergio Andò3 Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.
  • 1Centro Polar e Climático, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, 91501-970, Brazil
  • 2Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
  • 3Environmental and Earth Sciences Department, University Milano-Bicocca, Milan, 20126, Italy
  • 4Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France

Abstract. A deeper understanding of past atmospheric circulation variability in the Central Andes is a high-priority topic in paleoclimatology, mainly because of the necessity to validate climate models used to predict future precipitation trends and to develop mitigation and/or adaptation strategies for future climate change scenarios in this region. Within this context, we here investigate an 18-years firn core drilled at the Nevado Illimani in order to interpret its mineral dust record in relation to seasonal processes, in particular atmospheric circulation and deep convection. The core was dated by annual layer counting based on seasonal oscillations of dust, calcium and stable isotopes. Geochemical and mineralogical data show that dust is regionally-sourced in winter and summer. During austral summer (wet season) an increase in the relative proportion of giant dust particles (ø > 20 µm) is observed, in association to oscillations of stable isotope records (δD, δ18O). It seems that at Nevado Illimani both the deposition of dust and the isotopic signature of precipitation are influenced by atmospheric deep convection, which is also related to the total amount of precipitation in the area. This hypothesis is corroborated by local meteorological data. The interpretation of giant particle and stable isotope records suggests that during La Niña years, summer convection activity is enhanced, in agreement with atmospheric circulation studies. Giant particles and stable isotopes, when considered together, can be therefore used as a new proxy for obtaining information about deep convective activity in the past, which is ultimately related to paleo-ENSO variability.

Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.

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Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.

Filipe Gaudie Ley Lindau et al.


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Latest update: 21 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Information about the past climate variability in tropical South America is stored in the snow layers of the Central Andean glaciers. Here we show evidences that the presence of very large aeolian mineral dust particles at Nevado Illimani (Bolivia) is strictly controlled by the occurrence of summer storms in the Bolivian Altiplano. As rainfall over this region is largely influenced by large scale climatic conditions, we purpose a new approach for studying past El Niño/La Niña variability.
Information about the past climate variability in tropical South America is stored in the snow...