Masters Thesis

A 1200 Year History of Hydrologic Variability Using Sediment from Ford Lake, Ca

The majority of lacustrine studies from the Mojave Desert Region focus on Mojave River fed lakes, specifically Silver and Soda Lake. the Mojave River headwaters, located in the San Bernardino Mountains, feed the Mojave River lakes and thus contain an aggregate of coastal southwest United States and Mojave Desert climate signals. a multiproxy sediment study from Ford Lake, California provides the first paleohydrologic record with a Mojave-only signal spanning the late Holocene. Ford Lake is located in the eastern section of the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California. It is a closed basin lake retaining exclusively Mojave Desert moisture. Consequently, it represents the first lake studied in the Mojave Desert Region where the climate signal is 100% Mojave controlled. the hydrologic reconstruction of Ford Lake reveals that the paleoclimate of the Mojave Desert Region was relatively dry during the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (MCA) whereas the Little Ice Age (LIA) was characterized with more, but variable precipitation. by comparing Ford Lake data to regional winter dominant lacustrine sites, specifically Silver Lake, Lower Bear Lake, Zaca Lake, Abbott Lake, Owens Lake, and Lake Elsinore it was assessed that there are similarities between the coastal climate signal and the Mojave climate signal. Further comparison to the Pacific sourced ocean-atmosphere phenomena (i.e. El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) found that the prevailing climatic forcings driving the coastal climate are also driving the Mojave Desert climate.


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