A 900-year New England temperature reconstruction from in situ seasonally produced branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs)
Paleotemperature reconstructions are essential for distinguishing anthropogenic climate change from natural variability. An emerging method in paleolimnology is the use of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) in sediments to reconstruct temperature, but their application is hindered by a limited understanding of their sources, seasonal production, and transport. Here, we report seasonally resolved measurements of brGDGT production in the water column, in catchment soils, and in a sediment core from Basin Pond, a small, deep inland lake in Maine, USA. We find similar brGDGT distributions in both water column and lake sediment samples but the catchment soils have distinct brGDGT distributions suggesting that (1) brGDGTs are produced within the lake and (2) this in situ production dominates the down-core sedimentary signal. Seasonally, depth-resolved measurements indicate that most brGDGT production occurs in late fall, and at intermediate depths (18–30m) in the water column. We utilize these observations to help interpret a Basin Pond brGDGT-based temperature reconstruction spanning the past 900 years. This record exhibits trends similar to a pollen record from the same site and also to regional and global syntheses of terrestrial temperatures over the last millennium. However, the Basin Pond temperature record shows higher-frequency variability than has previously been captured by such an archive in the northeastern United States, potentially attributed to the North Atlantic Oscillation and volcanic or solar activity. This first brGDGT-based multi-centennial paleoreconstruction from this region contributes to our understanding of the production and fate of brGDGTs in lacustrine systems.