Abstract

A δ18O monsoon rainfall proxy record from a U-Th–dated Costa Rican stalagmite (8840–4920 yr B.P.) documents an early Holocene dry period correlative with the high-latitude 8200 yr B.P. cold event. High δ18O values between ca. 8300 and 8000 yr B.P. demonstrate reduced rainfall and a weaker monsoon in Central America. A relatively wetter and more stable monsoon was established ca. 7600 yr B.P. The early Holocene dry event suggests a tropical-extratropical teleconnection to the 8200 yr B.P. cold event and a possible association of isthmian rainfall anomalies with high-latitude climate changes. The likely source of such a tropical anomaly is a decrease in Atlantic thermohaline circulation and atmospheric perturbations associated with drainage of proglacial lakes and freshwater discharge into the North Atlantic. A weaker monsoon at 8200 yr B.P. may be linked to wetland contraction and a decrease in methane observed in Greenland ice cores.

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