Stalagmites are an extraordinarily powerful resource for the reconstruction of climatological palaeoseasonality. Here, we provide a review of different types of seasonality preserved by stalagmites and methods for extracting this information. A new drip classification scheme is introduced, which facilitates the identification of stalagmites fed by seasonally responsive drips and which highlights the wide variability in drip types feeding stalagmites. This hydrological variability, combined with seasonality in Earth atmospheric processes, meteoric precipitation, biological processes within the soil, and cave atmosphere composition means that every stalagmite retains a different and distinct (but correct) record of environmental conditions. Replication of a record is extremely useful but should not be expected unless comparing stalagmites affected by the same processes in the same proportion. A short overview of common microanalytical techniques is presented, and suggested best practice discussed. In addition to geochemical methods, a new modelling technique for extracting meteoric precipitation and temperature palaeoseasonality from stalagmite δ18O data is discussed and tested with both synthetic and real-world datasets. Finally, world maps of temperature, meteoric precipitation amount, and meteoric precipitation oxygen isotope ratio seasonality are presented and discussed, with an aim of helping to identify regions most sensitive to shifts in seasonality.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank SISAL and PAGES for access to the SISAL database v1b. Portions of this research were funded by European Research Council Grant #240167 . Tim Horscroft is thanked for his support in facilitating the preparation of the manuscript. Ian Orland and Jasper Wassenburg are thanked for detailed constructive reviews that greatly improved the manuscript. Alex Iveson is thanked for useful comments regarding LA-ICPMS. We thank the editors for inviting this review and for their editorial handling of the manuscript.
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