Climate Dynamics

Published by Springer Nature

Online ISSN: 1432-0894


Print ISSN: 0930-7575


Orbital forced frequencies in the 975 000 year pollen record from Tenagi Philippon (Greece)
  • Article

January 1995


24 Reads

H J P M Mommersteeg






Frequency analysis was applied to different time series obtained from the 975 ka pollen record of Tenagi Philippon (Macedonia, Greece). These time series are characteristic of different vegetation types related to specific climatic conditions. Time control of the 196 m deep core was based on 11 finite 14C dates in the upper 17 m, magnetostratigraphy and correlation with the marine oxygen isotope stratigraphy. Maximum entropy spectrum analyses and thomson multitaper spectrum analysis were applied using the complete time series. Periods of 95–99, 40–45, 24.0–25.5 and 19–21 ka which can be related to orbital forcing, as well as periods of about 68, 30 ka and of about 15.5, 13.5, 12 and 10.5 ka were detected. The detected periods of about 68, 30 ka and 16, 14, 12, 10.5 ka are likely to be harmonics and combination tones of the periods related to orbital forcing. The period of around 30 ka is possibly a secondary peak of obliquity. To study the stability of the detected periods through time, analysis with a moving window was employed. Signals in the eccentricity band were detected clearly during the last 650 ka. In the precession band, detected periods of about 24 ka show an increase in amplitude during the last 650 ka. The evolution of orbital frequencies during the last 1.0 Ma is in general agreement with the results of other marine and continental time series. Time series related to different climatic settings showed a different response to orbital forcing. Time series of vegetational elements sensitive to changes in net precipitation were forced in the precession and obliquity bands. changes in precession caused changes in the monsoon system, which indirectly had a strong influence on the climatic history of Greece. Time series of vegetational elements which are more indicative of changes in annual temperature are forced in the eccentricity band.

The southwest Indian Monsoon over the last 18 000 years
  • Article
  • Full-text available

February 1996


654 Reads

Previously published results suggest that the strength of the SW Indian Monsoon can vary significantly on century- to millenium time scales, an observation that has important implications for assessments of future climate and hydrologic change over densely populated portions of Asia. We present new, well-dated, multi-proxy records of past monsoon variation from three separate Arabian Sea sediment cores that span the last glacial maximum to late-Holocene. To a large extent, these records confirm earlier published suggestions that the monsoon strengthened in a series of abrupt events over the last deglaciation. However, our data provide a somewhat refined picture of when these events took place, and suggest the primacy of two abrupt increases in monsoon intensity, one between 13 and 12.5 ka, and the other between 10 and 9.5 ka. This conclusion is supported by the comparisons between our new marine data and published paleoclimatic records throughout the African-Asian monsoon region. The comparison of data sets further supports the assertion that maximum monsoon intensity lagged peak insolation forcing by about 3000 years, and extended from about 9.5 to 5.5 ka. The episodes of rapid monsoon intensification coincided with major shifts in North Atlantic-European surface temperatures and ice-sheet extent. This coincidence, coupled with new climate model experiments, suggests that the large land-sea thermal gradient needed to drive strong monsoons developed only after glacial conditions upstream of, and on, the Tibetan Plateau receded (cold North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures, European ice-sheets, and extensive Asian snow cover). It is likely that abrupt changes in seasonal soil hydrology were as important to past monsoon forcing as were abrupt snow-related changes in regional albedo. Our analysis suggests that the monsoon responded more linearly to insolation forcing after the disappearance of glacial boundary conditions, decreasing gradually after about 6 ka. Our data also support the possibility that significant century-scale decreases in monsoon intensity took place during the early to mid-Holocene period of enhanced monsoon strength, further highlighting the need to understand paleomonsoon dynamics before accurate assessments of future monsoon strength can be made.

Fossil-pollen evidence for abrupt climate changes during the past 18 000 years in eastern North America

December 1992


603 Reads

A quantitative measure of the rate at which fossil-pollen abundances changed over the last 18 000 years at 18 sites spread across eastern North America distinguishes local from regionally synchronous changes. Abrupt regional changes occurred at most sites in late-glacial time (at 13700, 12 300, and 10000 radiocarbon yr BP) and during the last 1000 years. The record of abrupt late-glacial vegetation changes in eastern North America correlates well with abrupt global changes in ice-sheet volume, mountain snow-lines, North Atlantic deep-water production, atmospheric CO2, and atmospheric dust, although the palynological signal varies from site to site. Changes in vegetation during most of the Holocene, although locally significant, were not regionally synchronous. The analysis reveals non-alpine evidence for Neoglacial/Little Ice Age climate change during the last 1000 years, which was the only time during the Holocene when climate change was of sufficient magnitude to cause a synchronous vegetational response throughout the subcontinent. During the two millennia preceding this widespread synchronous change, the rate of change at all sites was low and the average rate of change was the lowest of the Holocene.

Modelling the NW India monsoon for the last 40 000 years

January 1989


20 Reads

Modeling of the monsoon requires at least a hemispheric model. At present such models require inputs such as ice cover and other parameters. The model used in the present work uses only irradiance and volcanic aerosol estimates, modeling the ice cover by first modeling the glacial volume and area. The net annual continental ice accumulation rate must be intergrated to obtain the global glacial volume. The integration may be done analytically and combined with a global volcanicity index time-series to give a volcanically modulated glacial model. This combined integral model matches both the general variation of glacial volume and the short-term events as well. This model is then combined with the calculated irradiance to drive a hemispheric heat-budget model yielding monthly hemispheric surface temperatures. The model matches most known climatic events seen in field data. The model also yields monthly evaporation values for the hemisphere that can be used to estimate the rainfall, much of which is monsoonal. The match with the history obtained from the pollen record is fairly good. Assuming that the N-S component of the northern Arabian Sea summer windfield is proportional to the annual contrast of hemispheric temperature and that the W-E component is proportional to the N-S temperature gradient, one may then model the Late Pleistocence and Holocence wind direction and strength. Preliminary estimates are consistent with much of the field data.

Paleoclimatic inferences from glacial fluctuations on Svalbard during the last 20 000 years

January 1992


170 Reads

The climate history of western Spitsbergen, Svalbard is deduced from variations of glaciers during the last 20 000 years. A major depression of the regional equilibrium line altitude (ELA) occurred during the Late Weichselian glacial maximum (18000–13000y ago) when low summer temperatures may have caused year-round snow accumulation on the ground. This rapid expansion of the glaciers also indicates nearby moisture sources, suggesting partly open conditions in the Norwegian Sea during the summers. A rapid glacial retreat around 13 000–12 500 y BP was caused by a sudden warming. During the Younger Dryas the ELA along the extreme western coast of Spitsbergen was not significantly lower than at present. In contrast to Fennoscandia, the British Isles and the Alps, there is no evidence for readvance of local glaciers during Younger Dryas on western Spitsbergen. This difference is attributed to a much dryer climate on Spitsbergen and probably only slight changes in sea surface temperatures. In addition, summer melting in this high arctic area is more sensitive to orbitally increased insolation. Around 10 000 y BP another rapid warming occurred and during early and mid Holocene the summer temperatures were significantly higher than at present. A temperature decline during the late Holocene caused regrowth of the glaciers which reached their maximum Holocene position during the last century.

Rates of change in the European palynological record of the last 13 000 years and their climatic interpretation

August 1992


20 Reads

Rates of change of pollen spectra throughout Europe during the last 13 000 years have been calculated. The overall mean rate of change curve shows peaks corresponding to known times of rapid palaeoenvironmental change between 13 000 and 12000y BP, and between 10 000 and 9000 y BP. These peaks are strongest in the north and west of Europe. As in eastern North America (Jacobson et al. 1987), highest rates of change are recorded during the last millennium. At this time the changes of greatest magnitude are in areas of Europe with winter climate conditions strongly influenced by the North Atlantic. It is hypothesized that the overall pattern of Holocene climate change in Europe, and especially the changes of the last millennium, result from changes in the North Atlantic that have most strongly influenced winter conditions in western Europe.

Collins M. Climate predictability on interannual to decadal time scales: The initial value problem. Climate Dynamics 19:–. <

October 2002


211 Reads

Any initial value forecast of climate will be subject to errors originating from poorly known initial conditions, model imperfections, and by "chaos" in the sense that, even if the initial conditions were perfectly known, infinitesimal errors can amplify and spoil the forecast at some lead time. Here the latter source of error is examined using a "perfect model" approach whereby small perturbations are made to a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model and the spread of nearby model trajectories, on time and space scales appropriate to seasonal-decadal climate variability, is measured to assess the lead time at which the error saturates. The study therefore represents an estimate of the upper limit of the predictability of climate (appropriate to the initial value problem) given a perfect model and near perfect knowledge of the initial conditions. It is found that, on average, surface air temperature anomalies are potentially predictable on seasonal to interannual time scales in the tropical regions and are potentially predictable on decadal time scales over the ocean in the North Atlantic. For mid-latitude surface air temperature anomalies over land, model trajectories rapidly diverge and there is little sign of any potential predictability on time scales greater than a season or so. For mean sea level pressure anomalies, there is potential predictability on seasonal time scales in the tropics, and for some global scale annual-decadal anomalies, although not those associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. For precipitation, the only potential for predictability is for seasonal time anomalies associated with the El-Nio Southern Oscillation. For the majority of the highly populated regions of the world, climate predictability on interannual to decadal time scales based in the initial value approach is likely to be severely limited by chaotic error growth. It is found however that there can be cases in which the potential predictability can be higher than average indicating that there is perhaps some utility in making initial value forecasts of climate in those regions which show low predictability on average.

Fig. 8 Difference in cumulated carbon uptake (1860-2100) between the coupled run and the uncoupled run for the major carbon cycle components-ocean (left), temperate/boreal (30°N-90°N, middle) and tropical land biosphere (30°S-30°N, right). Displayed are results derived from 11 climate-carbon cycle models that contributed to the C4MIP intercomparison (Friedlingstein et al. 2006)
Will the tropical land biosphere dominate the climate–carbon cycle feedback during the twenty-first century?. <]> (Accessed 2 June 2013)

September 2007


464 Reads

Global warming caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is expected to reduce the capability of the ocean and the land biosphere to take up carbon. This will enlarge the fraction of the CO2 emissions remaining in the atmosphere, which in turn will reinforce future climate change. Recent model studies agree in the existence of such a positive climate–carbon cycle feedback, but the estimates of its amplitude differ by an order of magnitude, which considerably increases the uncertainty in future climate projections. Therefore we discuss, in how far a particular process or component of the carbon cycle can be identified, that potentially contributes most to the positive feedback. The discussion is based on simulations with a carbon cycle model, which is embedded in the atmosphere/ocean general circulation model ECHAM5/MPI-OM. Two simulations covering the period 1860–2100 are conducted to determine the impact of global warming on the carbon cycle. Forced by historical and future carbon dioxide emissions (following the scenario A2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), they reveal a noticeable positive climate–carbon cycle feedback, which is mainly driven by the tropical land biosphere. The oceans contribute much less to the positive feedback and the temperate/boreal terrestrial biosphere induces a minor negative feedback. The contrasting behavior of the tropical and temperate/boreal land biosphere is mostly attributed to opposite trends in their net primary productivity (NPP) under global warming conditions. As these findings depend on the model employed they are compared with results derived from other climate–carbon cycle models, which participated in the Coupled Climate–Carbon Cycle Model Intercomparison Project (C4MIP).

An Atmosphere-Ocean Regional Climate Model for the Mediterranean area: Assessment of a Present Climate Simulation. Climate Dynamics doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0691-8

October 2009


556 Reads

We present an atmosphere–ocean regional climate model for the Mediterranean basin, called the PROTHEUS system, composed by the regional climate model RegCM3 as the atmospheric component and by a regional configuration of the MITgcm model as the oceanic component. The model is applied to an area encompassing the Mediterranean Sea and compared to a stand-alone version of its atmospheric component. An assessment of the model performances is done by using available observational datasets. Despite a persistent bias, the PROTHEUS system is able to capture the inter-annual variability of seasonal sea surface temperature (SST) and also the fine scale spatio-temporal evolution of observed SST anomalies, with spatial correlation as high as 0.7 during summer. The close inspection of a 10-day strong wind event during the summer of 2000 proves the capability of the PROTHEUS system to correctly describe the daily evolution of SST under strong air–sea interaction conditions. As a consequence of the model’s skill in reproducing observed SST and wind fields, we expect a reliable estimation of air–sea fluxes. The model skill in reproducing climatological land surface fields is in line with that of state of the art regional climate models. KeywordsRegional climate model-Mediterranean-Air–sea interaction

Fig. 2 PDSI from the NADA v2a, for the four persistent twentieth century hydroclimatic events over North America. The four events were the 1905–1917 pluvial, the 1932–1939 'Dust Bowl' drought, the 1948–1957 drought, and the 1998–2002 drought  
Fig. 8 PDSI from the NADA (upper left), and modeled with forcing from PC 1 (upper right), PCs 1–2 (lower left) and PCs 1–2–3 (lower right) for the 1948–1957 drought  
Fig. 9 PDSI from the NADA (upper left), and modeled with forcing from PC 1 (upper right), PCs 1–2 (lower left) and PCs 1-2-3 (lower right) for the 1998–2002 drought  
Fig. 10 Taylor diagram summarizing ensemble median results from all simulations for all events  
DOI 10.1007/s00382-010-0897-9 Forced and unforced variability of twentieth century North American droughts and pluvials

September 2010


101 Reads

Research on the forcing of drought and pluvial events over North America is dominated by general circulation model experiments that often have operational limitations (e.g., computational expense, ability to simulate relevant processes, etc). We use a statistically based modeling approach to investigate sea surface temperature (SST) forcing of the twentieth century pluvial (1905–1917) and drought (1932–1939, 1948–1957, 1998–2002) events. A principal component (PC) analysis of Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) from the North American Drought Atlas separates the drought variability into five leading modes accounting for 62 % of the underlying variance. Over the full period spanning these events (1900–2005), the first three PCs significantly correlate with SSTs in the equatorial Pacific (PC 1), North Pacific (PC 2), and North Atlantic (PC 3), with spatial patterns (as defined by the empirical orthogonal functions) consistent with our understanding of North American drought responses to SST forcing. We use a large ensemble statistical modeling approach to determine how successfully we can reproduce these drought/pluvial events using these three modes of variability. Using Pacific forcing only (PCs 1–2), we are able to reproduce the 1948–1957 drought and 1905–1917 pluvial above a 95 % random noise threshold in over 90% of the ensemble members; the addition of Atlantic forcing (PCs 1–2–3) provides only marginal improvement. For the 1998–2002 drought, Pacific forcing reproduces the drought

The impact of combined ENSO and PDO on the PNA climate: A 1,000-year climate modeling study

December 2007


867 Reads

This study analyzes the atmospheric response to the combined Pacific interannual ENSO and decadal–interdecadal PDO variability, with a focus on the Pacific-North American (PNA) sector, using a 1,000-year long integration of the Canadian Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) coupled climate model. Both the tropospheric circulation and the North American temperature suggest an enhanced PNA-like climate response and impacts on North America when ENSO and PDO variability are in phase. The anomalies of the centers of action for the PNA-like pattern are significantly different from zero and the anomaly pattern is field significant. In association with the stationary wave anomalies, large stationary wave activity fluxes appear in the mid-high latitudes originating from the North Pacific and flowing downstream toward North America. There are significant Rossby wave source anomalies in the extratropical North Pacific and in the subtropical North Pacific. In addition, the axis of the Pacific storm track shifts southward with the positive PNA. Atmospheric heating anomalies associated with ENSO variability are confined primarily to the tropics. There is an anomalous heating center over the northeast Pacific, together with anomalies with the same polarity in the tropical Pacific, for the PDO variability. The in-phase combination of ENSO and PDO would in turn provide anomalous atmospheric energy transports towards North America from both the Tropical Pacific and the North Pacific, which tends to favor the occurrence of stationary wave anomalies and would lead to a PNA-like wave anomaly structure. The modeling results also confirm our analysis based on the observational record in the twentieth century.

A 1,000-year ice core record of interannual to multidecadal variations in atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic

July 2005


50 Reads

Interannual to multidecadal modes in ocean/atmosphere dynamics in the North Atlantic region have been identified using sea salt aerosol proxy records from northern Greenland ice cores over the last 1,000years. Sea salt concentrations show a consistent relationship with anomalies in the meridional pressure gradient over the North Atlantic region over all considered time scales. These pressure anomalies are connected to shifts in storm tracks, leading to lower pressure and higher storm activity, hence, higher sea salt export over the Greenland ice sheet. Two modes of long-term variability with a period of 10.4years and 62years could be identified. The latter is connected to long-term changes in sea surface temperature (SST) as documented by a high correlation of North Atlantic SST with our sea salt record over the last 150years. Long-term reconstruction of these modes shows that the 10.4-year cycle has been a phenomenon persistent over the last millennium while the 62-year cycle has been mainly active after 1700. Accordingly, the longer-term persistence of this multidecadal variability in sea salt points also to significant variations in SST over the last 300years.

Simulated climate change during the last 1,000 years: Comparing the ECHO-G general circulation model with the MAGICC simple climate model

August 2006


103 Reads

An intercomparison of eight climate simulations, each driven with estimated natural and anthropogenic forcings for the last millennium, indicates that the so-called “Erik” simulation of the ECHO-G coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model exhibits atypical behaviour. The ECHO-G simulation has a much stronger cooling trend from 1000 to 1700 and a higher rate of warming since 1800 than the other simulations, with the result that the overall amplitude of millennial-scale temperature variations in the ECHO-G simulation is much greater than in the other models. The MAGICC (Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas-Induced Climate Change) simple climate model is used to investigate possible causes of this atypical behaviour. It is shown that disequilibrium in the initial conditions probably contributes spuriously to the cooling trend in the early centuries of the simulation, and that the omission of tropospheric sulphate aerosol forcing is the likely explanation for the anomalously large recent warming. The simple climate model results are used to adjust the ECHO-G Erik simulation to mitigate these effects, which brings the simulation into better agreement with the other seven models considered here and greatly reduces the overall range of temperature variations during the last millennium simulated by ECHO-G. Smaller inter-model differences remain which can probably be explained by a combination of the particular forcing histories and model sensitivities of each experiment. These have not been investigated here, though we have diagnosed the effective climate sensitivity of ECHO-G to be 2.39±0.11K for a doubling of CO2.

Fig. 4 Spatial correlations (1900-1985) with the CRU land/sea temperature (Jones et al. 1999; Rayner et al. 2003) data-set for the January-September season. a PDO index, b actual GOA temperatures, c reconstructed GOA temperatures
Fig. 5 Comparison of new GOA reconstruction with previous (Wiles et al. 1998; D'Arrigo et al. 1999) versions. All series were smoothed with a 15 year spline and normalised to the common period. The correlations (calculated using unfiltered versions of the data) are between each series and the new GOA reconstruction. The first value is for the full period of overlap, while the value in parentheses was calculated over the 1899-1983 period
Fig. 6 Comparison of actual and reconstructed GOA temperatures with several large-scale synoptic indices (normalised to the common 1900-1994 period). The vertical lines (and dates) denote significant (95% CL) shifts in the time series. Correlations (lower right; all significant at the 95% confidence limit) are with the reconstruction, calculated over the 1900-1985 period. The Rodionov (2004) method was used to identify the regime shifts (window length = 20 years with a kappa value of 3). It should be noted that at the 90% CL, shifts are identified in the GOA reconstructed and instrumental data at 1923 and 1926, respectively
Cycles and Shifts: 1,300 Years of Multi-Decadal Temperature Variability in the Gulf of Alaska

March 2007


170 Reads

The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) is highly sensitive to shifts in North Pacific climate variability. Here we present an extended tree-ring record of January–September GOA coastal surface air temperatures using tree-ring width data from coniferous trees growing in the mountain ranges along the GOA. The reconstruction (1514–1999), based on living trees, explains 44% of the temperature variance, although, as the number of chronologies decreases back in time, this value decreases to, and remains around ∼30% before 1840. Verification of the calibrated models is, however, robust. Utilizing sub-fossil wood, we extend the GOA reconstruction back to the early eighth century. The GOA reconstruction correlates significantly (95% CL) with both the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index (0.53) and North Pacific Index (−0.42) and therefore likely yields important information on past climate variability in the North Pacific region. Intervention analysis on the GOA reconstruction identifies the known twentieth century climate shifts around the 1940s and 1970s, although the mid-1920s shift is only weakly expressed. In the context of the full 1,300years record, the well studied 1976 shift is not unique. Multi-taper method spectral analysis shows that the spectral properties of the living and sub-fossil data are similar, with both records showing significant (95% CL) spectral peaks at ∼9–11, 13–14 and 18–19years. Singular spectrum analysis identifies (in order of importance) significant oscillatory modes at 18.7, 50.4, 38.0, 91.8, 24.4, 15.3 and 14.1years. The amplitude of these modes varies through time. It has been suggested (Minobe in Geophys Res Lett 26:855–858, 1999) that the regime shifts during the twentieth century can be explained by the interaction between pentadecadal (50.4years) and bidecadal (18.7years) oscillatory modes. Removal of these two modes of variance from our GOA time series does indeed remove the twentieth century shifts, but many are still identified prior to the twentieth century. Our analysis suggests that climate variability of the GOA is very complex, and that much more work is required to understand the underlying oscillatory behavior that is observed in instrumental and proxy records from the North Pacific region.

Fig. 2 Time components identified with SSA on the sunspot number reconstruction. a The *6,500-year period component; b the *2,500-year period component; c the *950year period component; d the *550-year period component; e the reconstruction based on these four components and its MEM spectrum, derived using the parameters: MEM order = 160, Number of sample frequencies = 1,024 (f)
Fig. 7 Spectral content of a proxy record for the last glacial period. Decadal GISP2 potassium concentration for the last 100,000 years (a). MTM spectrum of the potassium record, computed using the parameters: Resolution = 2, Number of Tapers = 3 (b); The 99% (thick dashed line) and 95% (thin dashed line) confidence levels against the null hypothesis of a red noise spectrum are also shown. The fundamental (derived) modes are indicated by continuous (dashed) arrows
Fig. 8 Schematic representation of a Fourier analysis applied to a rectified signal. a The initial harmonic function of period T. The rectification level is represented by the horizontal line; b the rectified signal and the two harmonics of periods T and T/2; on the AB and CD segments the T/2 period harmonic fits better to the rectified signal than the T period harmonic
Conceptual model for millennial climate variability: A possible combined solar-thermohaline circulation origin for the ∼1,500-year cycle

February 2008


146 Reads

Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events are the most pronounced climatic changes over the last 120,000years. Although many of their properties were derived from climate reconstructions, the associated physical mechanisms are not yet fully understood. These events are paced by a ~1,500-year periodicity whose origin remains unclear. In a conceptual model approach, we show that this millennial variability can originate from rectification of an external (solar) forcing, and suggest that the thermohaline circulation, through a threshold response, could be the rectifier. We argue that internal threshold response of the thermohaline circulation (THC) to solar forcing is more likely to produce the observed DO cycles than amplification of weak direct ~1,500-year forcing of unknown origin, by THC. One consequence of our concept is that the millennial variability is viewed as a derived mode without physical processes on its characteristic time scale. Rather, the mode results from the linear representation in the Fourier space of nonlinearly transformed fundamental modes.

A description of persistent climatic anomalies in a 1000-year climatic model simulation

June 2001


24 Reads

 The Mark 2 version of the CSIRO coupled global climatic model has been used to generate a 1000-year simulation of natural (i.e. unforced) climatic variability representative of “present conditions”. The annual mean output from the simulation has been used to investigate the occurrence of decadal and longer trends over the globe for a number of climatic variables. Here trends are defined to be periods of years with a climatic anomaly of a given sign. The analysis reveals substantial differences between the trend characteristics of the various climatic variables. Trends longer than 12 years duration were unusual for rainfall. Such trends were fairly uniformly distributed over the globe and had an asymmetry in the rate of occurrence for wet or dry conditions. On the other hand, trends in surface wind stress, and especially the atmospheric screen temperature, were of longer duration but primarily confined to oceanic regions. The trends in the atmospheric screen temperature could be traced deep into the oceanic mixed layer, implying large changes in oceanic thermal inertia. This thermal inertia then constituted an important component of the `memory' of the climatic system. While the geographic region associated with a given trend could be identified over several adjacent grid boxes of the model, regional plots for individual years of the trend revealed a range of variations, suggesting that a consistent forcing mechanism may not be responsible for a trend at a given location. Typical return periods for 12-year rainfall trends were once in 1000 years, highlighting the rarity of such events. Using a looser definition of a trend revealed that drying trends up to 50 years duration were also possible, attributable solely to natural climatic variability. Significant (∼20% to 40%) rainfall reductions per year can be associated with a long-term drying trend, hence such events are of considerable climatic significance. It can take more than 100 years for the hydrologic losses associated with such a trend to be overcome. Overall, the simulation provides new and useful insights into climatic trends, and quantifies a number of poorly observed characteristics. The results highlight the extensive and pervasive influence of unforced natural climatic variability as an omnipresent generator of climatic trends.

Secular variability of ENSO events in a 1000-year climatic simulation

May 2003


84 Reads

The CSIRO Mark 2 coupled global climatic model has been used to generate 1000 years of simulated climatic variability corresponding to present climatic conditions. A small climatic drift was noted during the simulation, and all results presented are based on detrended conditions. The emphasis here is on El Nio/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and their secular variability during the simulation. A number of features of the simulated ENSO climatology are presented and compared with observations. These demonstrate that the model reproduced the major characteristics of observed ENSO variability. A variety of analyses is given to illustrate secular variability of ENSO-related climate. Thus, while the simulated Southern Oscillation is shown to be a robust feature of the model climatology, decadal and oscillatory time variations occurred. Time-smoothing of the Southern Oscillation Index revealed underlying multi-decadal episodes, with associated climatic anomalies. Examination of 'strong' ENSO events highlighted an asymmetry between El Nio and La Nia events, similar to that observed, with clear secular variability in the occurrence rate of La Nia events. Persistent (multi-annual) ENSO events, such as occurred in the 1990s, were found to exist within the simulation, suggesting that these may be attributable to natural climatic variability. An investigation of the temporal variation of the anomalous depth of the 20 C isotherm in the Pacific Ocean, revealed secular variability, which, if predictable, could identify decadal-length climatic trends. Other analyses involved the behaviour of the Pacific North American Oscillation and its secular variability. Distinct climatic impacts over North America were identified with this variability. Importantly, the simulation identified a number of features of ENSO-related climatic variability which have been poorly, if at all, documented in observations to date.

Signal analysis of the atmospheric mean 500/1000 hPa temperature north of 55°N between 1949 and 1994

December 2001


82 Reads

 The lower tropospheric mean temperature 500/1000 hPa is examined in the Northern Hemisphere high-latitude region north of 55°N with regard to a climate change signal due to anthropogenic climate forcing as a supplement to previous studies which concentrated on near surface temperatures. An observational data set of the German Weather Service is compared with several model simulations including different scenarios of greenhouse gas and sulfate aerosol forcing derived from the two recent versions of the coupled climate model in Hamburg, ECHAM-3/LSG and ECHAM-4/OPYC. The signal analysis is based on the optimal fingerprint method, which supplies a detection variable with optimal signal-to-noise ratio. The natural variability measures are derived from the corresponding long-term control experiments. From 1970 onward, we find high trend pattern analogies between the observational data and the greenhouse-gas induced model simulations. The fingerprint of this common temperature signal consists of a predominate warming with maximum over Siberia and a weak cooling over the North Atlantic reaching an estimated significance level of about 1%. A non-optimized approach has also been examined, leading to even closer trend pattern correlations. The additional forcing by sulfate aerosols decreases the correlation of this climate change simulation with the observations. The natural variability constitutes about 50% of the conforming trend patterns. The signal-to-noise ratio is best over the oceans while the tropospheric temperatures over the land masses are contaminated by strong noise. The trend pattern correlations look the same for both model versions and several ensemble members with different noise realizations.

Drought Frequency in Central California Since 101 B.C. Recorded in Giant Sequoia Tree Rings

August 1992


851 Reads

Well replicated tree-ring width index chronologies have been developed for giant sequoia at three sites in the Sierra Nevada, California. Extreme low-growth events in these chronologies correspond with regional drought events in the twentieth century in the San Joaquin drainage, in which the giant sequoia sites are located. This relationship is based upon comparison of tree-ring indices with August Palmer Drought Severity Indices for California Climate Division 5. Ring-width indices in the lowest decile from each site were compared. The frequency of low-growth events which occurred at all three sites in the same year is reconstructed from 101 B.C. to A.D. 1988. The inferred frequency of severe drought events changes through time, sometimes suddenly. The period from roughly 1850 to 1950 had one of the lowest frequencies of drought of any one hundred year period in the 2089 year record. The twentieth century so far has had a below-average frequency of extreme droughts.

Fig. 1 Locations of 11 high and five low elevation meteorological stations (Bo¨hmBo¨hm et al. 2001), and regional ring width datasets. High elevation stations (>1,500 m a.s.l.): Dav Davos (1901), Feu Feuerkogel (1930), Gsb Gr. St. Bernhard (1818), Jfj Jungfraujoch (1933), Lga Lago Gabiet (1928), Pat Patscherkofel (1931), Smh Schmittenho¨heSchmittenho¨he (1880), Snt Sa¨ntisSa¨ntis (1864), Son Sonnenblick (1887), Via Villacher Alpe (1851), Zug Zugspitze (1901). Low elevation stations (<600 m a.s.l.): Aos Aosta (1841), Ber Bern (1864), Gnv Geneva (1760), Mil Milano (1763), Sio Sion (1864). Parentheses denoted start years of instrumental measurements ending in 2002. Tree-ring collections: LOE-L Lo¨tschentalLo¨tschental, SIM-L Simplon, GOM- L Goms, ENG-L Engadine (all larch); AUT-P Western Austria (pine)  
Table 1 Tree-ring data, characteristics and sources 
Fig. 2 a Regional ring width chronologies detrended using 300-year spline fittings. Chronologies are truncated at a sample size <5 series. Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the records (note the 1201–1211 gap in SIM-L, where sample replication falls below five series). Records smoothed with a 20-year low-pass filter for illustration. b Sample distribution of the chronologies, with each bar representing a single series  
Fig. 7 Comparison of regional and large-scale temperature reconstructions . a The new Alpine RCS detrended record, combining larch and pine data, together with the JJA reconstruction of Frank and Esper (2005b), the JJA reconstruction of Luterbacher et al. (2004) and the reconstruction of Lamb (1965), and the JJA high elevation instrumental temperatures from Bo¨hmBo¨hm et al. (2001). The original records were adjusted to have the same mean during the 1961–1990 period, except for Lamb65, which refers to July–August mean temperatures (see axis on the right). b The Alpine larch/pine  
A 1052-year tree-ring proxy for Alpine summer temperatures

August 2005


581 Reads

A June–August Alpine temperature proxy series is developed back to AD 951 using 1,527 ring-width measurements from living trees and relict wood. The reconstruction is composed of larch data from four Alpine valleys in Switzerland and pine data from the western Austrian Alps. These regions are situated in high elevation Alpine environments where a spatially homogenous summer temperature signal exists. In an attempt to capture the full frequency range of summer temperatures over the past millennium, from inter-annual to multi-centennial scales, the regional curve standardization technique is applied to the ring width measurements. Correlations of 0.65 and 0.86 after decadal smoothing, with high elevation meteorological stations since 1864 indicate an optimal response of the RCS chronology to June–August mean temperatures. The proxy record reveals warm conditions from before AD 1000 into the thirteenth century, followed by a prolonged cool period, reaching minimum values in the 1820s, and a warming trend into the twentieth century. This latter trend and the higher frequency variations compare well with the actual high elevation temperature record. The new central Alpine proxy suggests that summer temperatures during the last decade are unprecedented over the past millennium. It also reveals significant similarities at inter-decadal to multi-centennial frequencies with large-scale temperature reconstructions, however, deviating during certain periods from H.H. Lamb‘s European/North Atlantic temperature history.

Fig. 1 CFC-11 concentration along r h = 26.0 isopycnal surface for the year of 1997 from the a model and b annual mean observations from GLODAP. Units are in picomoleCFCkg -1 . The corresponding depth of r h = 26.0 surface is shown as contours for the model and
Fig. 2 a Observed partial pressure of CFC-11 in the atmosphere for the northern and southern hemisphere. Units are in parts per trillion (ppt). b Column inventory of the model CFC-11 for the base run and interannual run. Units are in moleCFC
Fig. 3 a Interannual variability of the globally integrated CFC-11 sink (thin line) and source (dash line). Units are in 9 10 3 kgmoleCFCyear -1 . A sink to source ratio (small boxed line) is given based on the right side axis. b The integral of CFC-11 source from 1960 to 1999.
Fig. 7 Interannual variability of a global air-sea CFC-11 flux anomalies from 1960 to 1999 is shown. The boxed lines are the global anomalies. Units are in moleCFCyear -1 . The anomalies are detrended using regression analysis. A 12-month running mean is applied
The percentage contribution of sinks and sources for each oceanic region
Interannual variability of CFC-11 absorption by the ocean: An offline model study

April 2011


107 Reads

The global ocean Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-11) was simulated in an offline model driven by re-analysis ocean currents in order to identify the mechanisms of interannual to interdecadal variability of air–sea CFC fluxes. The model was forced with the observed anthropogenic perturbations of atmospheric CFC-11 from the post industrial period (1938) following the OCMIP-II flux protocols along with the observed winds from 1960 to 1999 in the formulation of surface gas exchanges. The model ocean CFC-11 inventories, at the end of 1990s, accounted approximately 1% of the total atmospheric CFC-11, which is consistent with the corresponding observations. The mid-to-high latitude oceans were venue for strong (weak) oceanic sinks (sources) of CFC-11 during the winter (summer) months. The Southern Ocean (south of 40°S) and the North Atlantic (north of 35°N) provided two largest sinks of CFC-11, through which 31.4 and 14.6% of the global ocean CFC-11 entered, respectively. The eastern tropical Pacific Ocean exhibited large interannual variability of CFC-11 flux with a strong (weak) sink during La Niña (El Niño) years and represented 36% of the global CFC-11 flux variability. The North Atlantic and Southern Ocean were found as regions of large sink efficiency: a capacity to sink more CFC than outsource, although it reduced by 80 and 70%, respectively, in the last 40years compared to 1960. The sink to source ratio of global ocean CFC-11 fluxes were reduced from 90 to 50% in the last 40years. This indicates a saturation of CFC in the above-thermocline subsurface that makes the upper ocean less efficient in absorbing CFC in recent decades. A positive trend in CFC sink is now limited to the Southern Ocean, central tropical Pacific and western boundary current regions which possess active upwelling of old water with long time since last atmospheric contact. However, a globally averaged trend was a reduced CFC-11 sink, by emitting 30% of the total ocean CFC-11 that was absorbed during last 40years. KeywordsCFC-11–Interannual variability–Air–sea CFC-11 fluxes–Reanalysis data

The impact of cold North Atlantic sea surface temperatures on climate: implications for the Younger Dryas cooling (11-10 k)

September 1986


45 Reads

The sensitivity of global climate to colder North Atlantic sea surface temperatures is in vestigated with the use of the GISS general circulation model. North Atlantic ocean temperatures 18,000 B.P., resembling those prevalent during the Younger Dryas, were incorporated into the model of the present climate and also into an experiment using orbital parameters and land ice characteristic of 11,000 B.P. The results show that with both 11,000 B.P. and present conditions the colder ocean temperatures produce cooling over western and central Europe, in good agreement with Younger Dryas paleoclimatic evidence. Cooling also occurs over extreme eastern North America, although the precise magnitude and location depends upon the specification of ocean temperature change in the western Atlantic. Despite the presence of increased land ice and colder ocean temperatures, the Younger Dryas summer air temperatures at Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes in the model are warmer than those of today due to changes in the orbital parameters, chiefly precession, and atmospheric subsidence at the perimeter of the ice sheets.

Interrelation between QBO and 11-year solar cycle effects in total column ozone over Europe

October 2009


51 Reads

On the basis of total column ozone (TO) data obtained in the period of 1957–2007 at 10 ground-based European stations, characterized by long and highly reliable measurements, the effects of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and 11-year solar cycle (11-year SC), manifesting in TO are investigated. The results of comparative analysis of seasonal differences between different QBO/solar extremes convincingly demonstrate interrelation between the QBO and 11-year SC effects. It is shown that solar activity modulates the phase of the QBO effect so that the quasi-biennial TO signals during solar maximum and solar minimum are nearly in opposite phase. It is also demonstrated that isolated under permanent conditions of solar minimum or solar maximum the QBO effects in TO have the time scale of about 20months. Solar modulation of the QBO effect makes the QBO a conductor of the solar cycle impact on TO over Europe. The mechanism of influence of the 11-year SC on the QBO and probably includes its impact on the QBO amplitude in the equatorial lower stratosphere, mainly through weakening of the equatorial easterlies during solar maximum.

Table 1 Ozonesonde stations used in this work 
Fig. 1 Mean equatorial zonal wind in the period of 1965-2006 at the pressure levels 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 70 hPa obtained with the help of the superimposed epoch method for lags ± 18 months relative E-W phase reversals at the 50-hPa pressure level (key-0 data). Solid lines represent wind data, fallen into the solar maximum conditions (F10.7 [ 140 s.f.u.); broken lines those in the solar minimum conditions (F10.7 \ 120 s.f.u)
Influence of the 11-year solar cycle on the effects of the equatorial quasi-biennial oscillation, manifesting in the extratropical northern atmosphere

January 2009


97 Reads

Using the longest and most reliable ozonesonde data sets grouped for four regions (Japan, Europe, as well as temperate and polar latitudes of Canada) the comparative analysis of regional responses of ozone, temperature, horizontal wind, tropopause and surface pressure on the equatorial quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO effects), manifesting in opposite phases of the 11-year solar cycle (11-yr SC) was carried out. The impact of solar cycle is found to be the strongest at the Canadian Arctic, near one of two climatological centres of polar vortex, where in solar maximum conditions the QBO signals in ozone and temperature have much larger amplitudes, embrace greater range of heights, and are maximized much higher than those in solar minimum conditions. The strengthening of the temperature QBO effect during solar maxima can explain why correlation between the 11-yr SC and polar winter stratospheric temperature is reversed in the opposite QBO phases. At the border of polar vortex the 11-yr SC also modulates the QBO effect in zonal wind, strengthening the quasi-biennial modulation of polar vortex during solar maxima that is associated with strong negative correlation between stratospheric QBO signals in zonal wind and temperature. Above Japan the QBO effects of ozone, temperature, and zonal wind, manifesting in solar maxima reveal the downward phase dynamics, reminding similar feature of the zonal wind in the equatorial stratosphere. Above Europe, the QBO effects in solar maxima reveal more similarity with those above Japan, while in solar minima with the effects obtained at the Canadian middle-latitude stations. It is revealed that the 11-yr SC influences regional QBO effects in tropopause height, tropopause temperature and surface pressure. The influence most distinctly manifest itself in tropopause characteristics above Japan. The results of the accompanying analysis of the QBO reference time series testify that in the period of 1965–2006 above 50-hPa level the duration of the QBO cycle in solar maxima is 1–3 months longer than in solar minima. The differences are more distinct at higher levels, but they are diminished with lengthening of the period.

Dynamical changes in the ENSO system in the last 11,000 years

December 2009


72 Reads

A thorough analysis of a proxy El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) record indicates that a bifurcation occurred in the ENSO system sometime around 5,000years b.p. As a result of this bifurcation the attractor became higher dimensional and a new mechanism of instability was introduced. As a consequence of these changes the system switched from a dynamics where the normal condition (La Nina) was dominant to a dynamics characterized by more frequent and stronger El Nino events.

Atmospheric circulation anomalies due to 115 kyr BP climate forcing dominated by changes in the North Pacific Ocean

February 2011


127 Reads

Climate at the time of inception of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) at ~115kyr BP is simulated with the fully coupled NCAR Community Climate System Model (CCSM3) and compared to a simulated preindustrial climate (circa 1870) in order to better understand land surface and atmospheric responses to orbital and greenhouse cooling at inception. The interaction between obliquity and eccentricity produces maximum decrease in TOA insolation in JJA over the Arctic but increases occur over the tropics in DJF. The land surface response is dominated by widespread summer cooling in the Northern Hemisphere (NH), increases in snowfall, and decreases in melt rates and total precipitation. CCSM3 responds to the climate forcing at 115kyr BP by producing incipient glaciation in the areas of LIS nucleation. We find that the inception of the LIS could have occurred with atmospheric circulation patterns that differ little from the present. The location of the troughs/ridges, mean flow over the Canadian Arctic and dominant modes of the atmospheric circulation are all very similar to the present. Larger changes in mean sea level pressure occur upstream of the inception region in the North Pacific Ocean and downstream in Western Europe. In the North Pacific region, the 115kyr BP anomalies weaken both the Pacific high and Aleutian low making NH summers look more like the PREIND winters and vice versa. The occurrence of cold JJA anomalies at 115kyr BP favors outbreaks of cold air not in the winter as in contemporary climates but during the summer instead and reinforces the cooling from orbital and GHG reductions. Increased poleward eddy transport of heat and moisture characterizes the atmospheric response in addition to reduced total cloud cover in the Arctic. KeywordsLaurentide Ice Sheet–Inception–CCSM3–North-Pacific

Sensitivity of the northern extratropics hydrological cycle to the changing insolation forcing at 126 and 115 ky BP

September 2003


12 Reads

The orbital configuration at the end of the last interglacial, 115,000yearsBP (115kyBP), was such that the Northern Hemisphere seasonal contrast was decreased when compared to the last interglacial maximum, 126kyBP. Climatic reconstructions argue for increased latitudinal surface temperature and salinity gradients in the North Atlantic at 115kyBP compared to 126kyBP. According to proxy measurements the high-latitude ocean freshening may be explained by enhanced northward atmospheric moisture advection which would have then led to decreased deep convection activity in the northern seas. To evaluate such re-adjustments of the atmospheric circulation to the insolation forcing changes, we have explored the changes in atmospheric energy balance and transport with two AGCM experiments, one for each climate. We show that the northward increase in static heat transport at 115kyBP to 126kyBP constitutes a first order response to the changing insolation. It tends to equalise the heat balance of the atmosphere. Despite sea surface temperatures fixed (SSTs) to present-day this feature is strongly amplified by the air–sea heat flux exchanges. By comparing with OAGCM experiments for the same periods, we find that the simulated surface ocean heat flux responses to insolation forcing are similar whether the ocean is allowed to vary or not. The latent heat transport does not undergo the same changes as the dry static one. On an annual basis, it decreases over the high northern latitudes. This is the result of summer modification of moisture sources and transient activity. The latter appears to affect latent heat transport much more than the dry static one. The winter response, however, differs from the summer response which dominates the annual mean. There is an enhanced northward atmospheric moisture advection during winter at 115kyBP, which is responsible for the freshening of high-latitude ocean during this season. This result seems to confirm the hypothesis inferred from marine data.

Sensitivity of simulated Asian and African summer monsoons to orbitally induced variations in insolation 126, 115 and 6 kBP

January 1996


24 Reads

We have conducted four numerical experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) to investigate the sensitivity of Asian and African monsoons to small changes (–5 to +12%), with respect to present-day, in incoming solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere. We show that, during the mid-Holocene (6 kBP where kBP means thousands of years before present-day) and the last interglacial (126 kBP), the Northern Hemisphere seasonal contrast was increased, with warmer summers and colder winters. At the time of glacial inception (115 kBP) however, summers were cooler and winters milder. As a consequence, Asia and tropical North Africa experienced stronger (weaker) summer monsoons 6 and 126 kBP (115 kBP), in agreement with previous numerical studies. This present study shows that summer warming/cooling of Eurasia and North Africa induced a shift of the main low-level convergence cell along a northwest/southeast transect. When land was warmer (during the summer months 6 and 126 kBP), the monsoon winds converged further inland bringing more moisture into northern India, western China and the southern Sahara. The southern tips of India, Indochina and southeastern China, as well as equatorial North Africa became drier. When land was cooler (during the summer 115 kBP), the main convergence zone was located over the west Pacific and the wet (dry) areas were those that were dry (wet) 6 and 126 kBP. The location and intensity of the simulated precipitation maxima were therefore very sensitive to changes in insolation. However the total amount of monsoon rain in Asia as well as in Africa remained remarkably stable through the time periods studied. These simulated migrations of convective activities were accompanied by changes in the nature of precipitation events: increased monsoon rains in these experiments were always associated with more high precipitation events (> 5 mm day –1), and fewer light showers (1 mm day–). Rainy days with rates between 1 and 5 mm day–1 were almost unchanged.

Transient simulations over the last interglacial period (126- 115 kyr BP): Feedback and forcing analysis

August 2002


59 Reads

This study addresses the mechanisms of climatic change in the northern high latitudes during the last interglacial (126–115 kyr BP) using the earth system model of intermediate complexity "MoBidiC". Two series of sensitivity experiments have been performed to assess (a) the respective roles played by different feedbacks represented in the model and (b) the respective impacts of obliquity and precession. The model simulates important environmental changes at northern high latitudes prior the last glacial inception, i.e.: (a) an annual mean cooling of 5 °C, mainly taking place between 122 and 120 kyr BP; (b) a southward shift of the northern treeline by 14° in latitude; (c) accumulation of perennial snow starting at about 122 kyr BP and (d) gradual appearance of perennial sea ice in the Arctic. As summer sea ice, summer snow and vegetation are particularly sensitive to spring and summer insolation, their evolution is mainly controlled by precession. Furthermore, these environmental changes cause variations in surface albedo that nearly quadruple the direct effect of the astronomical forcing. We conclude that in MoBidiC, precession is the main contributor to climatic change during the last interglacial. The feedback analysis reveals that the synergy between snow and vegetation is crucial for the gradual settlement of perennial snow at northern high latitudes. The interactions between the ocean and the continent are less critical, but the gradual growth of summer sea ice throughout the Eemian hastens the transition between taiga and tundra by about 1000 years. The model also simulates a 5% weakening of the North Atlantic branch of the thermohaline circulation throughout the study interval. This is a consequence of a slight warming of sub-surface Atlantic water at mid-latitudes caused by a decrease in winter heat exchanges between the ocean and the atmosphere. It is partly compensated for by a salinity increase at polar latitudes caused by a decrease in the local freshwater balance. Such a slight change in the thermohaline circulation does not have any significant impact on the heat balance of the northern high latitudes between 126 and 115 kyr BP.

Table 1 AGCM simulations (1) (after Mitchell:1993) 
Fig. 2 Model integration procedures (see text for details)  
Table 4 Annual mean response of GCMII 
Fig. 5a±d Simulated minus observed surface air temperature (°C): a DJF from the AGCM simulation with observed sea surface conditions (E3), b JJA from the AGCM simulation with observed sea surface conditions (E3), c DJF from the AGCM simulation with simulated present-day sea surface conditions (E4), and d JJA from the AGCM simulation with simulated present-day sea surface conditions (E4)  
On the causes of glacial inception at 116 kaBP

June 2002


65 Reads

To explore processes involved in glacial inception at 116 kaBP, the response of an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) to changes in lower boundary conditions is investigated. Two 116 kaBP experiments are conducted to examine the importance of sea surface conditions (sea surface temperature and sea ice distribution): one with the present-day sea surface conditions, and the other with 116 kaBP sea surface conditions. These two different sea surface conditions are obtained from simulations using an earth system climate model of intermediate complexity. Perennial snow cover occurred over the Canadian Archipelago under 116 kaBP orbital and CO2 forcing with present-day "warm" sea surface conditions, and further expanded over northeastern Canada when 116 kaBP "cool" sea surface conditions were applied. The net positive accumulation in northeastern Canada, with little in Alaska, is in good agreement with geological records. Two additional 116 kaBP experiments are conducted to examine the combined importance of sea surface conditions and land surface conditions (vegetation): one with the present-day sea surface and modified land surface conditions, and the other with 116 kaBP sea surface and modified land surface conditions. Modifying vegetation, based on cooling during summer induced by 116 kaBP sea surface conditions, leads to much larger areas of perennial snow cover. Only when 116 kaBP sea surface conditions are applied, is a realistic global net snow accumulation rate obtained. Contrary to the earlier ice age hypothesis, our results suggest that the capturing of glacial inception at 116 kaBP requires the use of "cooler" sea surface conditions than those of the present climate. Also, the large impact of vegetation change on climate suggests that the inclusion of the vegetation feedback is important for model validation, at least, in this particular period of Earth history.

Unprecedented low twentieth century winter sea ice extent in the Western Nordic Seas since A.D. 1200

June 2009


502 Reads

We reconstructed decadal to centennial variability of maximum sea ice extent in the Western Nordic Seas for A.D. 1200–1997 using a combination of a regional tree-ring chronology from the timberline area in Fennoscandia and δ18O from the Lomonosovfonna ice core in Svalbard. The reconstruction successfully explained 59% of the variance in sea ice extent based on the calibration period 1864–1997. The significance of the reconstruction statistics (reduction of error, coefficient of efficiency) is computed for the first time against a realistic noise background. The twentieth century sustained the lowest sea ice extent values since A.D. 1200: low sea ice extent also occurred before (mid-seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries, early fifteenth and late thirteenth centuries), but these periods were in no case as persistent as in the twentieth century. Largest sea ice extent values occurred from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, during the Little Ice Age (LIA), with relatively smaller sea ice-covered area during the sixteenth century. Moderate sea ice extent occurred during thirteenth–fifteenth centuries. Reconstructed sea ice extent variability is dominated by decadal oscillations, frequently associated with decadal components of the North Atlantic Oscillation/Arctic Oscillation (NAO/AO), and multi-decadal lower frequency oscillations operating at ~50–120year. Sea ice extent and NAO showed a non-stationary relationship during the observational period. The present low sea ice extent is unique over the last 800years, and results from a decline started in late-nineteenth century after the LIA. KeywordsSea ice-Paleoclimatology-Nordic seas-Global warming-Ice core-Dendroclimatology-Svalbard-Fennoscandia-NAO-AO-Little Ice Age

Table 1 . Summary of A ~4C results for the South China Sea and adjacent open Pacific deep walers (see Broecker et al., for a discussion of the hy- drography of the southeast Asian basins) 
Table 4 . Comparison between 14C distribution for the standard case PANDORA model and the model run at half the standard ocean mixing ra- tes. The total number of carbon atoms and radiocarbon atoms in the ocean- atmosphere system remains unchanged 
Limits on the ventilation rate for the deep ocean over the last 12000 years

September 1986


113 Reads

In this paper we present accelerator radiocarbon measurements on hand picked benthic and planktonic foraminifera separated from two deep sea cores raised from the South China Sea. From the benthic-planktonic age differences we are able to place limits on the extent to which the ventilation rate of the deep Pacific Ocean has changed over the last 12000 years. While much work remains to be done before any definitive answers for the global oceans can be given, these results on cores with sedimentation rates suitably high to avoid major corrections for bioturbation effects suggest that the ventilation rate of the deep Pacific Ocean has remained nearly the same throughout Holocene time. Further, there is no suggestion that the rate was slower during the period of major glacial retreat. These results confirm that the changes in atmospheric14C/C ratio over the last 10000 years owe their origin to radiocarbon production rate changes.

AMS radiocarbon dating and varve chronology of Lake Soppensee: 6000 to 12000 14C years BP

December 1993


256 Reads

For the extension of the radiocarbon calibration curve beyond 10000 14C y BP, laminated sediment from Lake Soppensee (central Switzerland) was dated. The radiocarbon time scale was obtained using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of terrestrial macrofossils selected from the Soppensee sediment. Because of an unlaminated sediment section during the Younger Dryas (10000–11000 14C y BP), the absolute time scale, based on counting annual layers (varves), had to be corrected for missing varves. The Soppensee radiocarbon-verve chronology covers the time period from 6000 to 12000 14C y BP on the radiocarbon time scale and 7000 to 13000 calendar y BP on the absolute time scale. The good agreement with the tree ring curve in the interval from 7000 to 11450 cal y BP (cal y indicates calendar year) proves the annual character of the laminations. The ash layer of the Vasset/Killian Tephra (Massif Central, France) is dated at 8230140 14C y BP and 940744 cal y BP. The boundaries of the Younger Dryas biozone are placed at 1098669 cal y BP (Younger Dryas/Preboreal) and 121286 cal y BP (Allerd/Younger Dryas) on the absolute time scale. The absolute age of the Laacher See Tephra layer, dated with the radiocarbon method at 10 800 to 11200 14C y BP, is estimated at 12350 135 cal y BP. The oldest radiocarbon age of 14190120 14C y BP was obtained on macrofossils of pioneer vegetation which were found in the lowermost part of the sediment profile. For the late Glacial, the offset between the radiocarbon (10000–12000 14C y BP) and the absolute time scale (11400–13000 cal y BP) in the Soppensee chronology is not greater than 1000 years, which differs from the trend of the U/Th-radiocarbon curve derived from corals.

Griffies, S. M. & Bryan, K. Apredictability study of simulated North Atlantic multidecadal variability. Clim. Dyn. 13(7/8), 459-487

August 1997


50 Reads

 The North Atlantic is one of the few places on the globe where the atmosphere is linked to the deep ocean through air–sea interaction. While the internal variability of the atmosphere by itself is only predictable over a period of one to two weeks, climate variations are potentially predictable for much longer periods of months or even years because of coupling with the ocean. This work presents details from the first study to quantify the predictability for simulated multidecadal climate variability over the North Atlantic. The model used for this purpose is the GFDL coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model used extensively for studies of global warming and natural climate variability. This model contains fluctuations of the North Atlantic and high-latitude oceanic circulation with variability concentrated in the 40–60 year range. Oceanic predictability is quantified through analysis of the time-dependent behavior of large-scale empirical orthogonal function (EOF) patterns for the meridional stream function, dynamic topography, 170 m temperature, surface temperature and surface salinity. The results indicate that predictability in the North Atlantic depends on three main physical mechanisms. The first involves the oceanic deep convection in the subpolar region which acts to integrate atmospheric fluctuations, thus providing for a red noise oceanic response as elaborated by Hasselmann. The second involves the large-scale dynamics of the thermohaline circulation, which can cause the oceanic variations to have an oscillatory character on the multidecadal time scale. The third involves nonlocal effects on the North Atlantic arising from periodic anomalous fresh water transport advecting southward from the polar regions in the East Greenland Current. When the multidecadal oscillatory variations of the thermohaline circulation are active, the first and second EOF patterns for the North Atlantic dynamic topography have predictability time scales on the order of 10–20 y, whereas EOF-1 of SST has predictability time scales of 5–7 y. When the thermohaline variability has weak multidecadal power, the Hasselmann mechanism is dominant and the predictability is reduced by at least a factor of two. When the third mechanism is in an extreme phase, the North Atlantic dynamic topography patterns realize a 10–20 year predictability time scale. Additional analysis of SST in the Greenland Sea, in a region associated with the southward propagating fresh water anomalies, indicates the potential for decadal scale predictability for this high latitude region as well. The model calculations also allow insight into regional variations of predictability, which might be useful information for the design of a monitoring system for the North Atlantic. Predictability appears to break down most rapidly in regions of active convection in the high-latitude regions of the North Atlantic.

Mid latitude winter climate varibility in the South Indian and southwest Pacific regions since 1300 AD

July 2004


82 Reads

Mid-latitude winter atmospheric variability in the South Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific Ocean regions of the circum-Antarctic are reconstructed using sea-salt aerosol concentrations measured in the high resolution Law Dome (DSS) ice core from East Antarctica. The sea-salt aerosol concentration data, as sodium (Na), were measured at approximately monthly resolution spanning the past 700 years. Analyses of covariations between Na concentrations in Law Dome ice, and mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) and wind field data were conducted to define the mid-latitude and sub-Antarctic atmospheric circulation patterns associated with variations in Na delivery. High Na concentrations in Law Dome snow are associated with increased meridional aerosol transport from mid-latitude sources. The seasonal average Na concentration for early winter (May, June, July (MJJ)) is strongly correlated to the mid-latitude MSLP field in the South Indian and southwest Pacific Oceans, and southern Australian regions. In addition, the average MJJ Na concentrations display a strong association with the stationary Rossby wave number 3 circulation, and are anti-correlated to the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index of climate variability: high (low) Na concentrations occurring during negative (positive) SAM phases. This observed relationship is used to derive a proxy record for early-winter MSLP anomalies and the SAM in the South Indian and southwest Pacific Ocean regions over the period 1300–1995 AD. The proxy SAM index from 1300 to 1995 AD shows pronounced decadal-scale variability throughout. The period after 1500 AD is marked by a tendency toward slower variations and a weakly-positive mean SAM (enhanced westerlies in the 50 to 65S zone) compared to the early part of the record.

Aridity changes in the Temperate-Mediterranean transition of the Andes since AD 1346 reconstructed from tree-rings

April 2011


629 Reads

The Andes Cordillera acts as regional “Water Towers” for several countries and encompasses a wide range of ecosystems and climates. Several hydroclimatic changes have been described for portions of the Andes during recent years, including glacier retreat, negative precipitation trends, an elevation rise in the 0° isotherm, and changes in regional streamflow regimes. The Temperate-Mediterranean transition (TMT) zone of the Andes (35.5°–39.5°S) is particularly at risk to climate change because it is a biodiversity hotspot with heavy human population pressure on water resources. In this paper we utilize a new tree-ring network of Austrocedrus chilensis to reconstruct past variations in regional moisture in the TMT of the Andes by means of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). The reconstruction covers the past 657years and captures interannual to decadal scales of variability in late spring–early summer PDSI. These changes are related to the north–south oscillations in moisture conditions between the Mediterranean and Temperate climates of the Andes as a consequence of the latitudinal position of the storm tracks forced by large-scale circulation modes. Kernel estimation of occurrence rates reveals an unprecedented increment of severe and extreme drought events during the last century in the context of the previous six centuries. Moisture conditions in our study region are linked to tropical and high-latitude ocean-atmospheric forcing, with PDSI positively related to Niño-3.4 SST during spring and strongly negatively correlated with the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) during summer. Geopotential anomaly maps at 500-hPa show that extreme dry years are tightly associated with negative height anomalies in the Ross–Amundsen Seas, in concordance with the strong negative relationship between PDSI and AAO. The twentieth century increase in extreme drought events in the TMT may not be related to ENSO but to the positive AAO trend during late-spring and summer resulting from a gradual poleward shift of the mid-latitude storm tracks. This first PDSI reconstruction for South America demonstrates the highly significant hindcast skill of A. chilensis as an aridity proxy. KeywordsSouth-central Andes–Climatic transition–Palmer Drought Severity Index–Tree-rings– Austrocedrus chilensis –Climate change–AAO

Table 1 Acronym names of institutions and models used in the text
Table 2 Description of APCC/CliPAS two-tier prediction models
Fig. 3 a Temporal correlation skill of prediction of Nino3.4 SST index as a function of forecast lead time, initiated from 1 May and 1 November for the period of 1981-2001 derived from 7 CliPAS coupled models. b The same as in a but derived from 7 DEMETER coupled models. The green lines indicate the averaged skill of the individual models and the bars show the range of the best and worst coupled model skills. For comparison, the skills of persistent forecast (blue), the SNU dynamic-statistical model forecast (red), and the 14-model MME from both DEMETER and CliPAS (purple) are also shown
Advance and prospectus of seasonal prediction: Assessment of the APCC/ CliPAS 14-model ensemble retrospective seasonal prediction (1980-2004)

July 2009


333 Reads

We assessed current status of multi-model ensemble (MME) deterministic and probabilistic seasonal prediction based on 25-year (1980–2004) retrospective forecasts performed by 14 climate model systems (7 one-tier and 7 two-tier systems) that participate in the Climate Prediction and its Application to Society (CliPAS) project sponsored by the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Climate Center (APCC). We also evaluated seven DEMETER models’ MME for the period of 1981–2001 for comparison. Based on the assessment, future direction for improvement of seasonal prediction is discussed. We found that two measures of probabilistic forecast skill, the Brier Skill Score (BSS) and Area under the Relative Operating Characteristic curve (AROC), display similar spatial patterns as those represented by temporal correlation coefficient (TCC) score of deterministic MME forecast. A TCC score of 0.6 corresponds approximately to a BSS of 0.1 and an AROC of 0.7 and beyond these critical threshold values, they are almost linearly correlated. The MME method is demonstrated to be a valuable approach for reducing errors and quantifying forecast uncertainty due to model formulation. The MME prediction skill is substantially better than the averaged skill of all individual models. For instance, the TCC score of CliPAS one-tier MME forecast of Niño 3.4 index at a 6-month lead initiated from 1 May is 0.77, which is significantly higher than the corresponding averaged skill of seven individual coupled models (0.63). The MME made by using 14 coupled models from both DEMETER and CliPAS shows an even higher TCC score of 0.87. Effectiveness of MME depends on the averaged skill of individual models and their mutual independency. For probabilistic forecast the CliPAS MME gains considerable skill from increased forecast reliability as the number of model being used increases; the forecast resolution also increases for 2m temperature but slightly decreases for precipitation. Equatorial Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies are primary sources of atmospheric climate variability worldwide. The MME 1-month lead hindcast can predict, with high fidelity, the spatial–temporal structures of the first two leading empirical orthogonal modes of the equatorial SST anomalies for both boreal summer (JJA) and winter (DJF), which account for about 80–90% of the total variance. The major bias is a westward shift of SST anomaly between the dateline and 120°E, which may potentially degrade global teleconnection associated with it. The TCC score for SST predictions over the equatorial eastern Indian Ocean reaches about 0.68 with a 6-month lead forecast. However, the TCC score for Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) index drops below 0.40 at a 3-month lead for both the May and November initial conditions due to the prediction barriers across July, and January, respectively. The MME prediction skills are well correlated with the amplitude of Niño 3.4 SST variation. The forecasts for 2m air temperature are better in El Niño years than in La Niña years. The precipitation and circulation are predicted better in ENSO-decaying JJA than in ENSO-developing JJA. There is virtually no skill in ENSO-neutral years. Continuing improvement of the one-tier climate model’s slow coupled dynamics in reproducing realistic amplitude, spatial patterns, and temporal evolution of ENSO cycle is a key for long-lead seasonal forecast. Forecast of monsoon precipitation remains a major challenge. The seasonal rainfall predictions over land and during local summer have little skill, especially over tropical Africa. The differences in forecast skills over land areas between the CliPAS and DEMETER MMEs indicate potentials for further improvement of prediction over land. There is an urgent need to assess impacts of land surface initialization on the skill of seasonal and monthly forecast using a multi-model framework.

The sensitivity of the Late Saalian (140 ka) and LGM (21 ka) Eurasian ice sheets to sea surface conditions

August 2011


203 Reads

This work focuses on the Late Saalian (140ka) Eurasian ice sheets’ surface mass balance (SMB) sensitivity to changes in sea surface temperatures (SST). An Atmospheric General Circulation Model (AGCM), forced with two preexisting Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 21ka) SST reconstructions, is used to compute climate at 140 and 21ka (reference glaciation). Contrary to the LGM, the ablation almost stopped at 140ka due to the climatic cooling effect from the large ice sheet topography. Late Saalian SST are simulated using an AGCM coupled with a mixed layer ocean. Compared to the LGM, these 140ka SST show an inter-hemispheric asymmetry caused by the larger ice-albedo feedback, cooling climate. The resulting Late Saalian ice sheet SMB is smaller due to the extensive simulated sea ice reducing the precipitation. In conclusion, SST are important for the stability and growth of the Late Saalian Eurasian ice sheet. KeywordsSea surface temperatures–Late Saalian–Last Glacial Maximum–Eurasian ice sheet–Climate modelling–Quaternary

Variations of atmospheric 14C concentrations over the Allerod-Younger Dryas transition

January 1999


142 Reads

 Highly variable atmospheric radiocarbon concentrations are a distinct feature during the last deglaciation. The synchronisation of two high-resolution AMS 14C-dated records, Lake Gościąż, and a floating Late Weichselian glacial varve chronology at the Allerød-Younger Dryas transition allowed us to assess in detail atmospheric Δ14C changes between late Allerød and early Preboreal. The combined data set shows a drastic rise in Δ14C during the first 200 years or so of Younger Dryas and the two following about 500 year-long 14C plateaux. Model experiments which included variations in the geomagnetic field, atmospheric CO2 variations and a drastic reduction in North Atlantic Deep Water flux at the onset of Younger Dryas allowed to reproduce the distinct rise in Δ14C during the first 200 years of Younger Dryas fairly well. Also the drop in Δ14C at the Younger Dryas/Holocene boundary seems reasonably explained by changes in North Atlantic Deep Water circulation. However, the reason behind the anomalous behaviour of the Δ14C signal in the middle of Younger Dryas remains an open question.

The freshwater balance of polar regions in transient simulations from 1500 to 2100 AD using a comprehensive coupled climate model

July 2012


114 Reads

The ocean and sea ice in both polar regions are important reservoirs of freshwater within the climate system. While the response of these reservoirs to future climate change has been studied intensively, the sensitivity of the polar freshwater balance to natural forcing variations during preindustrial times has received less attention. Using an ensemble of transient simulations from 1500 to 2100 AD we put present-day and future states of the polar freshwater balance in the context of low frequency variability of the past five centuries. This is done by focusing on different multi-decadal periods of characteristic external forcing. In the Arctic, freshwater is shifted from the ocean to sea ice during the Maunder Minimum while the total amount of freshwater within the Arctic domain remains unchanged. In contrast, the subsequent Dalton Minimum does not leave an imprint on the slow-reacting reservoirs of the ocean and sea ice, but triggers a drop in the import of freshwater through the atmosphere. During the twentieth and twenty-first century the build-up of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean leads to a strengthening of the liquid export. The Arctic freshwater balance is shifted towards being a large source of freshwater to the North Atlantic ocean. The Antarctic freshwater cycle, on the other hand, appears to be insensitive to preindustrial variations in external forcing. In line with the rising temperature during the industrial era the freshwater budget becomes increasingly unbalanced and strengthens the high latitude’s Southern Ocean as a source of liquid freshwater to lower latitude oceans. KeywordsFreshwater balance–Hydrological cycle–Polar climate–Little Ice Age–External forcing

A model study of the Little Ice Age and beyond: Changes in ocean heat content, hydrography and circulation since 1500

September 2009


33 Reads

The Earth System Climate Model from the University of Victoria is used to investigate changes in ocean properties such as heat content, temperature, salinity, density and circulation during 1500 to 2000, the time period which includes the Little Ice Age (LIA) (1500–1850) and the industrial era (1850–2000). We force the model with two different wind-stress fields which take into account the North Atlantic Oscillation. Furthermore, temporally varying radiative forcings due to volcanic activity, insolation changes and greenhouse gas changes are also implemented. We find that changes in the upper ocean (0–300m) heat content are mainly driven by changes in radiative forcing, except in the polar regions where the varying wind-stress induces changes in ocean heat content. In the full ocean (0–3,000m) the wind-driven effects tend to reduce, prior to 1700, the downward trend in the ocean heat content caused by the radiative forcing. Afterwards no dynamical effect is visible. The colder ocean temperatures in the top 600m during the LIA are caused by changes in radiative forcing, while the cooling at the bottom is wind-driven. The changes in salinity are small except in the Arctic Ocean. The reduced salinity content in the subsurface Arctic Ocean during the LIA is a result from reduced wind-driven inflow of saline water from the North Atlantic. At the surface of the Arctic Ocean the changes in salinity are caused by changes in sea–ice thickness. The changes in density are a composite picture of the temperature and salinity changes. Furthermore, changes in the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) are caused mainly by a varying wind-stress forcing; the additional buoyancy driven changes due to the radiative forcings are small. The simulated MOC is reduced during the LIA as compared to the industrial era. On the other hand, the ventilation rate in the Southern Ocean is increased during the LIA.

Reconstruction of Sea Level Pressure fields over the Eastern North Atlantic and Europe back to 1500

March 2002


1,044 Reads

Spatially and temporally high-resolution estimates of past natural climate variability are important to assess recent significant climate trends. The mid-latitude atmospheric circulation is the dominant factor for regional changes in temperature, rainfall, and other climatic variables. Here we present reconstructions of gridded monthly sea level pressure (SLP) fields back to 1659 and seasonal reconstructions from 1500-1658 for the eastern North Atlantic-European region (30°W to 40°E; 30°N to 70°N). These were developed using principal component regression analysis based on the combination of early instrumental station series (pressure, temperature and precipitation) and documentary proxy data from Eurasian sites. The relationships were derived over the 1901-1960 calibration period and verified over 1961-1990. Under the assumption of stationarity in the statistical relationships, a transfer function derived over the 1901-1990 period was used to reconstruct the 500-year large-scale SLP fields. Systematic quality testing indicated reliable winter reconstructions throughout the entire period. Lower skill was obtained for the other seasons, although meaningful monthly reconstructions were available from around 1700 onwards, when station pressure series became available. The quality and the reconstructed SLP fields for two exceptionally cold years (1573, 1740) are discussed and climatologically interpreted. An EOF analysis of the 1500-1999 winter SLP revealed, firstly, a zonal flow pattern with pronounced decadal to centenial time scale variations, secondly, a monopole pattern over northwest Europe and thirdly, a pattern modulating the meridional flow component over Europe. These 500-year SLP reconstructions should be useful for modelling studies, particulary for analyses of low-frequency atmospheric variability and for circulation dynamics.

Torneträsk tree-ring width and density AD 500–2004: a test of climatic sensitivity and a new 1500-year reconstruction of north Fennoscandian summers

December 2008


651 Reads

This paper presents updated tree-ring width (TRW) and maximum density (MXD) from Torneträsk in northern Sweden, now covering the period ad 500–2004. By including data from relatively young trees for the most recent period, a previously noted decline in recent MXD is eliminated. Non-climatological growth trends in the data are removed using Regional Curve Standardization (RCS), thus producing TRW and MXD chronologies with preserved low-frequency variability. The chronologies are calibrated using local and regional instrumental climate records. A bootstrapped response function analysis using regional climate data shows that tree growth is forced by April–August temperatures and that the regression weights for MXD are much stronger than for TRW. The robustness of the reconstruction equation is verified by independent temperature data and shows that 63–64% of the instrumental inter-annual variation is captured by the tree-ring data. This is a significant improvement compared to previously published reconstructions based on tree-ring data from Torneträsk. A divergence phenomenon around ad 1800, expressed as an increase in TRW that is not paralleled by temperature and MXD, is most likely an effect of major changes in the density of the pine population at this northern tree-line site. The bias introduced by this TRW phenomenon is assessed by producing a summer temperature reconstruction based on MXD exclusively. The new data show generally higher temperature estimates than previous reconstructions based on Torneträsk tree-ring data. The late-twentieth century, however, is not exceptionally warm in the new record: On decadal-to-centennial timescales, periods around ad 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were equally warm, or warmer. The 200-year long warm period centered on ad 1000 was significantly warmer than the late-twentieth century (p<0.05) and is supported by other local and regional paleoclimate data. The new tree-ring evidence from Torneträsk suggests that this “Medieval Warm Period” in northern Fennoscandia was much warmer than previously recognized.

Sensitivity of sea ice to wind-stress and radiative forcing since 1500: A model study of the Little Ice Age and beyond

May 2009


21 Reads

Three different reconstructed wind-stress fields which take into account variations of the North Atlantic Oscillation, one general circulation model wind-stress field, and three radiative forcings (volcanic activity, insolation changes and greenhouse gas changes) are used with the UVic Earth System Climate Model to simulate the surface air temperature, the sea-ice cover, and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) since 1500, a period which includes the Little Ice Age (LIA). The simulated Northern Hemisphere surface air temperature, used for model validation, agrees well with several temperature reconstructions. The simulated sea-ice cover in each hemisphere responds quite differently to the forcings. In the Northern Hemisphere, the simulated sea-ice area and volume during the LIA are larger than the present-day area and volume. The wind-driven changes in sea-ice area are about twice as large as those due to thermodynamic (i.e., radiative) forcing. For the sea-ice volume, changes due to wind forcing and thermodynamics are of similar magnitude. Before 1850, the simulations suggest that volcanic activity was mainly responsible for the thermodynamically produced area and volume changes, while after 1900 the slow greenhouse gas increase was the main driver of the sea-ice changes. Changes in insolation have a small effect on the sea ice throughout the integration period. The export of the thicker sea ice during the LIA has no significant effect on the maximum strength of the AMOC. A more important process in altering the maximum strength of the AMOC and the sea-ice thickness is the wind-driven northward ocean heat transport. In the Southern Hemisphere, there are no visible long-term trends in the simulated sea-ice area or volume since 1500. The wind-driven changes are roughly four times larger than those due to radiative forcing. Prior to 1800, all the radiative forcings could have contributed to the thermodynamically driven changes in area and volume. In the 1800s the volcanic forcing was dominant, and during the first part of the 1900s both the insolation changes and the greenhouse gas forcing are responsible for thermodynamically produced changes. Finally, in the latter part of the 1900s the greenhouse gas forcing is the dominant factor in determining the sea-ice changes in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 154-year record of sea level at San Francisco: Extracting the long-term trend, recent changes, and other tidbits

February 2011


160 Reads

A data adaptive method called ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) is used to examine the 154-year record of monthly sea level at San Francisco. The mode that is lowest in frequency corresponds to the long-term trend. The next highest mode corresponds to an oscillation with a period of ~100 years and may be related to solar variability. When this mode is combined with the long-term trend, the rate of increase in sea level starts to decrease by ~1980. The next lower mode corresponds to interdecadal time scales and thus includes the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. When combined with the two lower modes, sea level itself starts to decrease by the mid-1990s. These results are consistent with the most recent results from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), and may be the first obtained from a tidal record. Prior to conducting EEMD, corrections for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) and the inverse barometer (IB) effect were applied. The effect of applying the GIA correction was relatively small, but the IB correction reduced the slope of the long-term trend in sea level by almost 15%. This reduction is due to a long-term increase in the variance of sea level pressure. To determine if the 10-15 year ENSO modulation cycle could be detected from the decomposition we first compared the envelope from the mode associated with ENSO, with the two adjacent modes that were lower in frequency. Spectral analysis revealed no significant maxima in the ENSO mode envelope, but a major peak in the spectrum for the two adjacent modes, with a period of 12. 8 years. This is consistent with a local response to El Niño warming for the ENSO mode, but a non-local response for the two adjacent modes. A similar analysis was performed for the Southern Oscillation Index and a spectral maximum was found between 12 and 16 years, consistent with our non-local interpretation of the previous two modes.

The impact of natural and anthropogenic forcings on climate and hydrology since 1550

January 2007


207 Reads

A climate simulation of an ocean/atmosphere general circulation model driven with natural forcings alone (constant “pre-industrial” land-cover and well-mixed greenhouse gases, changing orbital, solar and volcanic forcing) has been carried out from 1492 to 2000. Another simulation driven with natural and anthropogenic forcings (changes in greenhouse gases, ozone, the direct and first indirect effect of anthropogenic sulphate aerosol and land-cover) from 1750 to 2000 has also been carried out. These simulations suggest that since 1550, in the absence of anthropogenic forcings, climate would have warmed by about 0.1K. Simulated response is not in equilibrium with the external forcings suggesting that both climate sensitivity and the rate at which the ocean takes up heat determine the magnitude of the response to forcings since 1550. In the simulation with natural forcings climate sensitivity is similar to other simulations of HadCM3 driven with CO2 alone. Climate sensitivity increases when anthropogenic forcings are included. The natural forcing used in our experiment increases decadal–centennial time-scale and large spatial scale climate variability, relative to internal variability, as diagnosed from a control simulation. Mean conditions in the natural simulation are cooler than in our control simulation reflecting the reduction in forcing. However, over certain regions there is significant warming, relative to control, due to an increase in forest cover. Comparing the simulation driven by anthropogenic and natural forcings with the natural-only simulation suggests that anthropogenic forcings have had a significant impact on, particularly tropical, climate since the early nineteenth century. Thus the entire instrumental temperature record may be “contaminated” by anthropogenic influences. Both the hydrological cycle and cryosphere are also affected by anthropogenic forcings. Changes in tree-cover appear to be responsible for some of the local and hydrological changes as well as an increase in northern hemisphere spring snow cover. A climate simulation of an ocean/atmosphere general circulation model driven with natural forcings alone (constant “pre-industrial” land-cover and well-mixed greenhouse gases, changing orbital, solar and volcanic forcing) has been carried out from 1492 to 2000. Another simulation driven with natural and anthropogenic forcings (changes in greenhouse gases, ozone, the direct and first indirect effect of anthropogenic sulphate aerosol and land-cover) from 1750 to 2000 has also been carried out. These simulations suggest that since 1550, in the absence of anthropogenic forcings, climate would have warmed by about 0.1K. Simulated response is not in equilibrium with the external forcings suggesting that both climate sensitivity and the rate at which the ocean takes up heat determine the magnitude of the response to forcings since 1550. In the simulation with natural forcings climate sensitivity is similar to other simulations of HadCM3 driven with CO2 alone. Climate sensitivity increases when anthropogenic forcings are included. The natural forcing used in our experiment increases decadal–centennial time-scale and large spatial scale climate variability, relative to internal variability, as diagnosed from a control simulation. Mean conditions in the natural simulation are cooler than in our control simulation reflecting the reduction in forcing. However, over certain regions there is significant warming, relative to control, due to an increase in forest cover. Comparing the simulation driven by anthropogenic and natural forcings with the natural-only simulation suggests that anthropogenic forcings have had a significant impact on, particularly tropical, climate since the early nineteenth century. Thus the entire instrumental temperature record may be “contaminated” by anthropogenic influences. Both the hydrological cycle and cryosphere are also affected by anthropogenic forcings. Changes in tree-cover appear to be responsible for some of the local and hydrological changes as well as an increase in northern hemisphere spring snow cover.

Multidecadal hydroclimatic variability in northeastern North America since 1550 AD

August 2009


40 Reads

A network of varve and dendrochronological time series that provide annual resolution of Boreal tree growth conditions and Arctic snow pack and melt variability were used to investigate the imprint of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) on continental hydroclimatic variability in northeastern and northern North America from 1550 to 1986 AD. The hydroclimatic proxies show a coherent, AMO-like spectral pattern active since the late sixteenth and the early eighteenth century in the Canadian Arctic and southeastern Boreal regions, respectively. Positive AMO phases are associated with more intense spring runoff in the Arctic and with longer growth season and increased summer moisture availability in the southeastern boreal forest. These results offer new insights about the widespread response of North American hydroclimate to low frequency changes in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures.

Delworth, T. L. & Mann, M. E. Observed and simulated multidecadal variability in the Northern Hemisphere. Clim. Dyn. 16, 661-676

September 2000


864 Reads

 Analyses of proxy based reconstructions of surface temperatures during the past 330 years show the existence of a distinct oscillatory mode of variability with an approximate time scale of 70 years. This variability is also seen in instrumental records, although the oscillatory nature of the variability is difficult to assess due to the short length of the instrumental record. The spatial pattern of this variability is hemispheric or perhaps even global in scale, but with particular emphasis on the Atlantic region. Independent analyses of multicentury integrations of two versions of the GFDL coupled atmosphere-ocean model also show the existence of distinct multidecadal variability in the North Atlantic region which resembles the observed pattern. The model variability involves fluctuations in the intensity of the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic. It is our intent here to provide a direct comparison of the observed variability to that simulated in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model, making use of both existing instrumental analyses and newly available proxy based multi-century surface temperature estimates. The analyses demonstrate a substantial agreement between the simulated and observed patterns of multidecadal variability in sea surface temperature (SST) over the North Atlantic. There is much less agreement between the model and observations for sea level pressure. Seasonal analyses of the variability demonstrate that for both the model and observations SST appears to be the primary carrier of the multidecadal signal.

Fig. 1 Location of Emerald Basin on the Scotian Shelf, with respect to nearby La Have Basin and surface ocean currents. Currents of northern and southern origin are shown in black , and white , respectively, and isobaths are indicated at 200, 1000, and 3000 m. EGC is East Greenland Current, WGC is West Greenland Current, IC is Irminger Current, LC is Labrador Current 
Fig. 3a-e Sedimentological, micropaleontological and geochemical results at core OCE326 MC29D. a Abundance of planktonic foraminfera (squares) and lithic grains (diamonds) >150 lm; b percent abundance of the polar planktonic foraminifer N. pachyderma (s.) (open squares) and its d 18 O (solid squares); c concentration of alkenones in dry sediment (solid circles), and SST based on alkenone unsaturation (open squares); d d 18 O of the benthic foraminfer C. lobatulus; e Mg/Ca in C. lobatulus (open), and the bottom water temperature based on Mg/Ca (solid)
Fig. 5a-c Comparison of proxy data for bottom water temperature and salinity in Emerald Basin with instrumental data (provided by K. Drinkwater, Bedford Institute of Oceanography). In a, note the general covariance between BWT and BWS, except for samples dated to about 50 years ago. As discussed in the text, this part of the core probably records changes that occurred 3100 years ago. At that time, the uncoupling of BWT and BWS could have been a dynamic response to local melting and freshening in the Canadian archipelago (Koerner 1977; Koerner and Fisher 1990). From b, instrumental data at the bottom of the basin, it is seen that BWT depression during the minimum phase of the NAO was similar to the all of the paleo record but the past 3100 years, and that c changes in SST of 1-2 °C are common and not necessarily tied to BWT
A 1600-year history of the Labrador Current off Nova Scotia

July 2003


760 Reads

A multicore from Emerald Basin, on the continental margin off Nova Scotia, has a modern 14C age at the top, and other 14C dates indicate a linear sedimentation rate of ~30cm/ka to 1600 calendar years BP. This rate is great enough to record century-to-millennial scale changes in the surface and deep (~250m) waters in the basin that are influenced by the Labrador Current. We applied five proxies for seawater temperature changes to the sediments of Emerald Basin, including the percent abundance and the oxygen isotope ratio (d 18O) of the polar planktonic foraminifer N. pachyderma (s.), the unsaturation ratio of alkenones (U k' 37) produced by prymnesiophyte phytoplankton, and the d 18O and Mg/Ca of benthic foraminifera. All five proxies indicate the ocean warmed suddenly sometime in the past 150 years or so. The exact timing of this event is uncertain because 14C dating is inaccurate in recent centuries, but this abrupt warming probably correlates with widespread evidence for warming in the Arctic in the nineteenth century. Because the Canadian Archipelago is one of the two main sources for the Labrador Current, warming and melting of ice caps in that region may have affected Labrador Current properties. Before this recent warming, sea surface temperature was continually lower by 1–2C, and bottom water was colder by about 6C in Emerald Basin. These results suggest that there was no Medieval Warm Period in the coastal waters off Nova Scotia. Because there is also no evidence of medieval warming in the Canadian archipelago, it seems likely that coastal waters from Baffin Bay to at least as far south as Nova Scotia were continually cold for ~1500 of the past 1600 years.

Warm-season temperatures since 1600 BC reconstructed from Tasmanian tree rings and their relationship to large-scale sea surface temperature anomalies

February 2000


130 Reads

We describe an improved tree-ring reconstruction of mean warm-season (November–April) temperatures for Tasmania from Huon pine. This record extends back to 1600 BC and is based on a tree-ring chronology that was processed to retain as much low-frequency variance as possible. The resulting reconstruction explains 46.6% of the variance and verifies significantly when compared to withheld instrumental data. Cross-spectral analysis of actual and estimated temperatures over the 1886–1991 common period indicates that most of the unexplained variance is at periods < 12 years in length. At periods > 12 years, the squared coherency ranges between 0.6–0.8, and the cross-spectral gain indicates that the amplitude of the reconstruction is a nearly unbiased estimate of the true temperature amplitude. Therefore, this reconstruction should be especially useful for studying multi-decadal temperature variability in the Tasmanian sector of the Southern Hemisphere over the past 3592 years. To this end, we examined the time evolution of low-frequency temperature amplitude fluctuations and found evidence for a 35% amplitude reduction after AD 100 that persisted until about AD 1900. Since that time, the low-frequency temperature amplitude has systematically increased. We also show how this reconstruction is related to large-scale sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Indian Ocean and eastward to the dateline. Pointwise correlations between the Tasmanian record and SSTs reveal a relationship that extends across the southern Indian Ocean and towards the Arabian Sea. This pattern is largely determined by inter-decadal temperature variability, with correlations in this > 10-year bandwidth commonly exceeding 0.6 over most of the southern Indian and southwestern Pacific sectors. A rotated empirical orthogonal function analysis reveals that the pattern of pointwise correlations found between the temperature reconstruction and SSTs is largely explained by the linear combination of three orthogonal modes of SST variability.

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