Articles | Volume 12, issue 7
Research article
05 Jul 2016
Research article |  | 05 Jul 2016

Constant wind regimes during the Last Glacial Maximum and early Holocene: evidence from Little Llangothlin Lagoon, New England Tablelands, eastern Australia

James Shulmeister, Justine Kemp, Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons, and Allen Gontz

Abstract. Here we present the results of a multi-proxy investigation – integrating geomorphology, ground-penetrating radar, and luminescence dating – of a high-elevation lunette and beach berm in northern New South Wales, eastern Australia. The lunette occurs on the eastern shore of Little Llangothlin Lagoon and provides evidence for a lake high stand combined with persistent westerly winds at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM – centring on 21.5 ka) and during the early Holocene (ca. 9 and 6 ka). The reconstructed atmospheric circulation is similar to the present-day conditions, and we infer no significant changes in circulation at those times, as compared to the present day. Our results suggest that the Southern Hemisphere westerlies were minimally displaced in this sector of Australasia during the latter part of the last ice age. Our observations also support evidence for a more positive water balance at the LGM and early Holocene in this part of the Australian sub-tropics.

Short summary
This paper highlights that small dunes (lunettes) formed on the eastern side of a lake in the Australian sub-tropics at the height of the last ice age (about 21,000 years ago) and in the early part of the current interglacial (9–6,000 years ago). This means that it was fairly wet at these times and also that there were strong westerly winds to form the dunes. Today strong westerly winds occur in winter, and we infer that the same was also true at those times, suggesting no change in circulation.