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    Mass accumulation rate of detrital materials in Lake Suigetsu as a potential proxy for heavy precipitation: a comparison of the observational precipitation and sedimentary record

    Suzuki Y, Tada R, Yamada K, Irino T, Nagashima K, Nakagawa T, Omori T

    Fine-tuned age model of SG12LM3 (black). Probability range (dashed lines) is estimated based on Bayesian analysis. Varve count age, 137Cs control points, and 12 pairs of event layers (blue solid lines) and historically recorded flood events (red solid lines) are also shown.

    In the densely populated region of East Asia, it is important to know the mechanism, scale, and frequency of heavy precipitation brought about during the monsoons and typhoons. However, observational data, which cover only several decades, are insufficient to examine the long-term trend of extreme precipitation and its background mechanism. In humid areas, the transport flux of a suspended detrital material through a river system is known to have an empirical power relationship with precipitation. Thus, the sedimentation flux of a fine detrital material could potentially be used as a proxy for reconstructing past heavy precipitation events. To test the idea that the sedimentation flux of detrital materials records past heavy precipitation events (e.g., typhoons), we focused on the detrital flux estimated from the annually laminated sediment of Lake Suigetsu, central Japan, which is capable of accurately correlating the age of detrital flux with the precipitation record. We first established a precise age model (error within ±1 year in average) beginning in 1920 A.D. on the basis of varve counting fine-tuned by correlation between event layers with historical floods. The flux of the detrital material (g/cm2/year) was estimated on the basis of Al2O3 content (wt%), dry bulk density (g/cm3), and sedimentation rate (cm/year) calculated from the age model. The detrital flux of background sedimentation showed a weak positive correlation with annual and monthly (June and September) precipitation excluding heavy precipitation that exceeded 100 mm/day. Furthermore, the thickness of instantaneous event layers, which corresponds to several maxima of detrital flux and is correlated with floods that occurred mainly during typhoons, showed a positive relationship with the total amount of precipitation that caused a flood event. This result suggests that the detrital flux maxima (deposition of event layers) record past extreme precipitation events that were likely associated with typhoons that hit the middle part of Honshu Island. Based on this result, the record of typhoon-caused flood events can go back to older period (e.g., last glacial period) on the basis of the occurrence, and thickness, or mass flux of event layers using long sediment cores from Lake Suigetsu.