skip to main content

Title: Reconstructing an Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation Index from a Pacific Basin–Wide Collection of Ice Core Records
Abstract Using an assemblage of four ice cores collected around the Pacific basin, one of the first basinwide histories of Pacific climate variability has been created. This ice core–derived index of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) incorporates ice core records from South America, the Himalayas, the Antarctic Peninsula, and northwestern North America. The reconstructed IPO is annually resolved and dates to 1450 CE. The IPO index compares well with observations during the instrumental period and with paleo-proxy assimilated datasets throughout the entire record, which indicates a robust and temporally stationary IPO signal for the last ~550 years. Paleoclimate reconstructions from the tropical Pacific region vary greatly during the Little Ice Age (LIA), although the reconstructed IPO index in this study suggests that the LIA was primarily defined by a weak, negative IPO phase and hence more La Niña–like conditions. Although the mean state of the tropical Pacific Ocean during the LIA remains uncertain, the reconstructed IPO reveals some interesting dynamical relationships with the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). In the current warm period, a positive (negative) IPO coincides with an expansion (contraction) of the seasonal latitudinal range of the ITCZ. This relationship is not stationary, however, and is virtually absent throughout more » the LIA, suggesting that external forcing, such as that from volcanoes and/or reduced solar irradiance, could be driving either the ITCZ shifts or the climate dominating the ice core sites used in the IPO reconstruction. « less
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1744067
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10223101
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Volume:
34
Issue:
10
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
3839 to 3852
ISSN:
0894-8755
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Tropical rainfall variability is closely linked to meridional shifts of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and zonal movements of the Walker circulation. The characteristics and mechanisms of tropical rainfall variations on centennial to decadal scales are, however, still unclear. Here, we reconstruct a replicated stalagmite-based 2,700-y-long, continuous record of rainfall for the deeply convective northern central Indo-Pacific (NCIP) region. Our record reveals decreasing rainfall in the NCIP over the past 2,700 y, similar to other records from the northern tropics. Notable centennial- to decadal-scale dry climate episodes occurred in both the NCIP and the southern central Indo-Pacific (SCIP) during the 20th century [Current Warm Period (CWP)] and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), resembling enhanced El Niñ o -like conditions. Further, we developed a 2,000-y-long ITCZ shift index record that supports an overall southward ITCZ shift in the central Indo-Pacific and indicates southward mean ITCZ positions during the early MWP and the CWP. As a result, the drying trend since the 20 th century in the northern tropics is similar to that observed during the past warm period, suggesting that a possible anthropogenic forcing of rainfall remains indistinguishable from natural variability.
  2. Laguna Santa Elena (8.9290° N, 82.9257° W, 1055 m a.s.l.) is a small lake in the Diquís archaeological sub-region of southern Pacific Costa Rica. Previous analyses of pollen and charcoal in a sediment core from Santa Elena revealed a nearly 2,000 year history of vegetation change, maize cultivation and site occupation that is consistent with the archaeological record from the lake basin and surrounding area. Here we present the results of new loss-on-ignition, geochemical and bulk stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope analyses of the Santa Elena sediments that supplement and refine the previous reconstruction. Like many lakes in Central America and the Caribbean, Laguna Santa Elena was a magnet for humans throughout its history. As a result, the lake experienced vegetation modification by humans and maize cultivation at varying intensities over a long duration. The Santa Elena sediments provide a record of palaeoenvironmental change during times of major culture change and increasing cultural complexity in the Diquís region, which occurred during intervals of broader changes driven by external forcing mechanisms, including the Terminal Classic Drought (TCD), the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the Spanish Conquest. Our high resolution lake sediment study from Santa Elena reveals details of thesemore »events at the local scale that are unobtainable by other means, including the timing of the initial intensification of maize cultivation at ca. 1,570 cal BP (AD 380) and two intervals of population decline coinciding with the TCD at ca. 1,085 cal BP (AD 865) and near the start of the LIA at ca. 683 cal BP (AD 1267).« less
  3. Abstract Many previous studies have shown that an Indian Ocean basin warming (IOBW) occurs usually during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) decaying spring to summer seasons through modifying the equatorial zonal circulation. Decadal modulation associated with the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) is further investigated here to understand the nonstationary ENSO–IOBW relationship during ENSO decaying summer (July–September). During the positive IPO phase, significant warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are observed over the tropical Indian Ocean in El Niño decaying summers and vice versa for La Niña events, while these patterns are not well detected in the negative IPO phase. Different decaying speeds of ENSO associated with the IPO phase, largely controlled by both zonal advective and thermocline feedbacks, are suggested to be mainly responsible for these different ENSO–IOBW relationships. In contrast to ENSO events in the negative IPO phase, the ones in the positive IPO phase display a slower decaying speed and delay their transitions both from a warm to a cold state and a cold to a warm state. The slower decay of El Niño and La Niña thereby helps to sustain the teleconnection forcing over the equatorial Indian Ocean and corresponding SST anomalies there can persist into summer. Thismore »IPO modulation of the ENSO–IOBW relationship carries important implications for the seasonal prediction of the Indian Ocean SST anomalies and associated summer climate anomalies.« less
  4. Abstract Climate models in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) vary significantly in their ability to simulate the phase and amplitude of atmospheric stationary waves in the midlatitude Southern Hemisphere. These models also suffer from a double intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), with excessive precipitation in the tropical eastern South Pacific, and many also suffer from a biased simulation of the dynamics of the Agulhas Current around the tip of South Africa. The intermodel spread in the strength and phasing of SH midlatitude stationary waves in the CMIP archive is shown to be significantly correlated with the double-ITCZ bias and biases in the Agulhas Return Current. An idealized general circulation model (GCM) is used to demonstrate the causality of these links by prescribing an oceanic heat flux out of the tropical east Pacific and near the Agulhas Current. A warm bias in tropical east Pacific SSTs associated with an erroneous double ITCZ leads to a biased representation of midlatitude stationary waves in the austral hemisphere, capturing the response evident in CMIP models. Similarly, an overly diffuse sea surface temperature gradient associated with a weak Agulhas Return Current leads to an equatorward shift of the Southern Hemisphere jet bymore »more than 3° and weak stationary wave activity in the austral hemisphere. Hence, rectification of the double-ITCZ bias and a better representation of the Agulhas Current should be expected to lead to an improved model representation of the austral hemisphere.« less
  5. Ummenhofer, Caroline (Ed.)
    Long-term, large-scale perspectives are necessary for understanding climate variability and its effects on ecosystems and cultures. Tree ring records of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and Little Ice Age (LIA) have documented major hydroclimatic variability during the last millennium in the American West, but fewer continuous, high-resolution hydroclimate records of the MCA-LIA period are available for eastern North America, particularly during the transition from the MCA to the LIA (ca. A.D. 1250–1400). Diatoms (micro-algae with silica cell walls) in sediment cores from three Adirondack (NY, USA) lakes and a hiatus in a wetland peat deposit in the Adirondack uplands provide novel insights into the late Holocene hydroclimate history of the Northeast. These records demonstrate that two of the region’s most extreme decadal-scale droughts of the last millennium occurred ca. A.D. 1260–1330 and ca. A.D. 1360–1390 during a dry-wet-dry (DWD) oscillation in the Adirondacks that contributed to forest fires and desiccation of wetlands in New York and Maine. The bimodal drying was probably related to more extreme droughts farther west and coincided with major events in Iroquoian and Abenaki cultural history. Although the causes of the DWD oscillation in the Adirondacks remain uncertain, changing sea-surface temperatures and solar variability are likelymore »to have played a role.« less