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


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Porch, N and Jordan, GJ and Price, DM and Barnes, RW and Macphail, MK and Pemberton, M (2009) Last interglacial climates of south-eastern Australia: plant and beetle-based reconstructions from Yarra Creek, King Island, Tasmania. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28 (27-28). pp. 3197-3210. ISSN 0277-3791

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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.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Quaternary Science Reviews
Page Range: pp. 3197-3210
ISSN: 0277-3791
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.09.023
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Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2009 23:41
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:08
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