Tropical vegetation productivity and atmospheric methane over the last 40,000 years from model simulations and stalagmites in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Claire E. Krause, Alena K. Kimbrough*, Michael K. Gagan, Peter O. Hopcroft, Gavin B. Dunbar, Wahyoe S. Hantoro, John C. Hellstrom, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, Henri Wong, Bambang W. Suwargadi, Paul J. Valdes, Hamdi Rifai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Recent research has shown the potential of speleothem δ13C to record a range of environmental processes. Here, we report on 230Th-dated stalagmite δ13C records for southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, over the last 40,000 yr to investigate the relationship between tropical vegetation productivity and atmospheric methane concentrations. We demonstrate that the Sulawesi stalagmite δ13C record is driven by changes in vegetation productivity and soil respiration and explore the link between soil respiration and tropical methane emissions using HadCM3 and the Sheffield Dynamic Global Vegetation Model. The model indicates that changes in soil respiration are primarily driven by changes in temperature and CO2, in line with our interpretation of stalagmite δ13C. In turn, modelled methane emissions are driven by soil respiration, providing a mechanism that links methane to stalagmite δ13C. This relationship is particularly strong during the last glaciation, indicating a key role for the tropics in controlling atmospheric methane when emissions from high-latitude boreal wetlands were suppressed. With further investigation, the link between δ13C in stalagmites and tropical methane could provide a low-latitude proxy complementary to polar ice core records to improve our understanding of the glacial–interglacial methane budget.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-141
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary Research
Volume118
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Carbon isotopes
  • Indonesia
  • Late Quaternary
  • Methane
  • Modelling
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Speleothem

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