Franziska Lechleitner

Franziska Lechleitner

Visiting Researcher

I am a paleoclimatologist and geochemist working with speleothems. My research focuses on the application of a diverse set of proxies (e.g., stable isotopes, trace elements, radiocarbon, organic matter), with the aim of reconstructing climatic and environmental conditions in the past.

Currently, I am working on detecting signs of permafrost degradation after the last deglaciation using stalagmites from caves in Siberia. Permafrost thawing, and the concurrent release of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane), could present an important positive feedback to climate change. However, the extent and rate of permafrost thawing in the high latitude regions of the globe are still poorly constrained. Stalagmites that grew in caves overlain by permafrost during the last glacial period can provide important insight into these processes.

Other research interests of mine include:

  • High-resolution Quaternary paleorainfall reconstructions from tropical regions, especially India and Central America (Belize), links to volcanic and solar forcing
  • Use of stable and radioactive carbon isotopes in speleothems as proxies for karst hydrological processes and soil signatures
  • Extraction and characterisation of organic matter entrapped in speleothem fabrics
  • Construction of speleothem chronologies using radiocarbon

Lechleitner, F.A., Dittmar, T., Baldini, J.U.L., Prufer, K.M.P., Eglinton, T.I. (2017): Molecular signatures of dissolved organic matter in a tropical karst system. Organic Geochemistry, 113, 141-149, DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2017.07.015.


Lechleitner, F.A., Breitenbach, S.F.M., Cheng, H., Plessen, B., Rehfeld, K., Goswami, B., Marwan, N., Eroglu, D., Adkins, J., Haug, G. (2017): Climatic and in-cave influences on δ18O and δ13C in a stalagmite from northeastern India through the last deglaciation. Quaternary Research, 88, 458-471, DOI: 10.1017/qua.2017.72.


Smirnov, D.A., Breitenbach, S.F.M., Feulner, G., Lechleitner, F.A., Prufer, K.M.P., Baldini, J.U.L., Marwan, N., Kurths, J., (2017): A regime shift in the Sun-Climate connection with the end of the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Scientific Reports, 7, 11131, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-11340-8.


Lechleitner, F.A., Breitenbach, S.F.M., Rehfeld, K., Ridley, H.E., Asmerom, Y., Prufer, K.M., Marwan, N., Goswami, B., Kennett, D.J., Aquino, V.V., Polyak, V., Haug, G.H., Eglinton, T.I., Baldini, J.U.L. (2017): Tropical rainfall over the last two millennia: evidence for a low-latitude hydrologic seesaw. Scientific Reports, 7, 45809, DOI: 10.1038/srep45809.


McIntyre, C.P., Lechleitner, F.A., Lang, S.Q., Haghipour, N., Fahrni, S., Wacker, L., Synal, H.-A. (2016): 14C contamination testing in natural abundance laboratories: a new preparation method using wet chemical oxidation and some experiences. Radiocarbon, DOI:10.1017/RDC.2016.78.


Lechleitner, F.A., Baldini, J.U.L., Breitenbach, S.F.M., Fohlmeister, J., McIntyre, C., Goswami, B., Jamieson, R.A., van der Voort, T.S., Prufer, K., Marwan, N., Culleton, B.J., Kennett, D.J., Asmerom, Y., Polyak, V., Eglinton, T.I. (2016): Hydrological and climatological controls on radiocarbon concentrations in a tropical stalagmite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 194, 233-252.


Lechleitner, F.A., Fohlmeister, J., McIntyre, C., Baldini, L.M., Jamieson, R.A., Hercman, H., Gasiorowski, M., Pawlak, J., Stefaniak, K., Socha, P., Eglinton, T.I., Baldini, J.U.L. (2016): A novel approach for construction of radiocarbon-based chronologies for speleothems. Quaternary Geochronology, 35, 54-66.


Breitenbach, S.F.M., Lechleitner, F.A., Meyer, H., Diengdoh, G., Mattey, D., Marwan, N. (2015): Cave ventilation and rainfall signals in dripwater in a monsoonal setting – a monitoring study from NE India. Chemical Geology, 402, 111-124.


Ridley, H.E., Asmerom, Y., Baldini, J.U.L., Breitenbach, S.F.M., Aquino, V.V., Prufer, K.M., Culleton, B.J., Polyak, V., Lechleitner, F.A., Kennett, D.J., Zhang, M., Marwan, N., Macpherson, C.G., Baldini, L.M., Xiao, T., Peterkin, J., Awe, J., Haug, G.H. (2015): Aerosol forcing of the position of the intertropical convergence zone since AD 1550. Nature Geoscience, 8, 195-200.