A 1500-Year Record of Tropical Precipitation in Ice Cores from the Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru

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Science  06 Sep 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4717, pp. 971-973
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4717.971


Two ice cores, covering 1500 years of climatic information, from the summit (5670 meters) of the tropical Quelccaya ice cap, in the Andes of southern Peru, provide information on general environmental conditions including droughts, volcanic activity, moisture sources, temperature, and glacier net balance. The net balance record reconstructed from these cores reflects major precipitation trends for the southern Andes of Peru. These records indicate extended dry periods between 1720 and 1860, 1250 and 1310, and 570 and 610; wet conditions prevailed between 1500 and 1720. Establishing a tropical precipitation record may help explain climatic fluctuations since the tropical evaporation-precipitation cycle is a principal mechanism driving the atmospheric circulation.

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