A south Atlantic island record uncovers shifts in westerlies and hydroclimate during the last glacial

Svante Björck, Jesper Sjolte, Karl Ljung, Florian Adolphi, Roger Flower, Rienk H. Smittenberg, Malin E. Kylander, Thomas F. Stocker, Sofia Holmgren, Hui Jiang, Raimund Muscheler, Yamoah K. K. Afrifa, Jayne E. Rattray, Nathalie Van der Putten

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Abstract

Changes in the latitudinal position and strength of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies (SHW) are thought to be tightly coupled to important climate processes, such as cross-equatorial heat fluxes, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the bipolar seesaw, Southern Ocean ventilation and atmospheric <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">CO2</span> levels. However, many uncertainties regarding magnitude, direction, and causes and effects of past SHW shifts still exist due to lack of suitable sites and scarcity of information on SHW dynamics, especially from the last glacial. Here we present a detailed hydroclimate multiproxy record from a 36.4-18.6&thinsp;kyr old lake sediment sequence on Nightingale Island (NI). It is strategically located at 37<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">ĝF</span>&thinsp;S in the central South Atlantic (SA) within the SHW belt and situated just north of the marine Subtropical Front (SF). This has enabled us to assess hydroclimate changes and their link to the regional climate development as well as to large-scale climate events in polar ice cores. The NI record exhibits a continuous impact of the SHW, recording shifts in both position and strength, and between 36 and 31&thinsp;ka the westerlies show high latitudinal and strength-wise variability possibly linked to the bipolar seesaw. This was followed by 4&thinsp;kyr of slightly falling temperatures, decreasing humidity and fairly southerly westerlies. After 27&thinsp;ka temperatures decreased 3-4&thinsp;<span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">ĝ</span>C, marking the largest hydroclimate change with drier conditions and a variable SHW position. We note that periods with more intense and southerly-positioned SHW seem to be related to periods of increased <span classCombining double low line"inline-formula">CO2</span> outgassing from the ocean, while changes in the cross-equatorial gradient during large northern temperature changes appear as the driving mechanism for the SHW shifts. Together with coeval shifts of the South Pacific westerlies, our results show that most of the Southern Hemisphere experienced simultaneous atmospheric circulation changes during the latter part of the last glacial. Finally we can conclude that multiproxy lake records from oceanic islands have the potential to record atmospheric variability coupled to large-scale climate shifts over vast oceanic areas..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1939-1958
Number of pages20
JournalClimate of the Past Discussions
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019

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Last Glacial
Southern Hemisphere
climate
temperature
meridional circulation
ocean
ice core
atmospheric circulation
regional climate
ventilation
heat flux
lacustrine deposit
humidity
lake

Cite this

Björck, Svante ; Sjolte, Jesper ; Ljung, Karl ; Adolphi, Florian ; Flower, Roger ; Smittenberg, Rienk H. ; Kylander, Malin E. ; Stocker, Thomas F. ; Holmgren, Sofia ; Jiang, Hui ; Muscheler, Raimund ; Afrifa, Yamoah K. K. ; Rattray, Jayne E. ; Van der Putten, Nathalie. / A south Atlantic island record uncovers shifts in westerlies and hydroclimate during the last glacial. In: Climate of the Past Discussions. 2019 ; Vol. 15, No. 6. pp. 1939-1958.
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abstract = "Changes in the latitudinal position and strength of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies (SHW) are thought to be tightly coupled to important climate processes, such as cross-equatorial heat fluxes, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the bipolar seesaw, Southern Ocean ventilation and atmospheric CO2 levels. However, many uncertainties regarding magnitude, direction, and causes and effects of past SHW shifts still exist due to lack of suitable sites and scarcity of information on SHW dynamics, especially from the last glacial. Here we present a detailed hydroclimate multiproxy record from a 36.4-18.6&thinsp;kyr old lake sediment sequence on Nightingale Island (NI). It is strategically located at 37ĝF&thinsp;S in the central South Atlantic (SA) within the SHW belt and situated just north of the marine Subtropical Front (SF). This has enabled us to assess hydroclimate changes and their link to the regional climate development as well as to large-scale climate events in polar ice cores. The NI record exhibits a continuous impact of the SHW, recording shifts in both position and strength, and between 36 and 31&thinsp;ka the westerlies show high latitudinal and strength-wise variability possibly linked to the bipolar seesaw. This was followed by 4&thinsp;kyr of slightly falling temperatures, decreasing humidity and fairly southerly westerlies. After 27&thinsp;ka temperatures decreased 3-4&thinsp;ĝC, marking the largest hydroclimate change with drier conditions and a variable SHW position. We note that periods with more intense and southerly-positioned SHW seem to be related to periods of increased CO2 outgassing from the ocean, while changes in the cross-equatorial gradient during large northern temperature changes appear as the driving mechanism for the SHW shifts. Together with coeval shifts of the South Pacific westerlies, our results show that most of the Southern Hemisphere experienced simultaneous atmospheric circulation changes during the latter part of the last glacial. Finally we can conclude that multiproxy lake records from oceanic islands have the potential to record atmospheric variability coupled to large-scale climate shifts over vast oceanic areas..",
author = "Svante Bj{\"o}rck and Jesper Sjolte and Karl Ljung and Florian Adolphi and Roger Flower and Smittenberg, {Rienk H.} and Kylander, {Malin E.} and Stocker, {Thomas F.} and Sofia Holmgren and Hui Jiang and Raimund Muscheler and Afrifa, {Yamoah K. K.} and Rattray, {Jayne E.} and {Van der Putten}, Nathalie",
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Björck, S, Sjolte, J, Ljung, K, Adolphi, F, Flower, R, Smittenberg, RH, Kylander, ME, Stocker, TF, Holmgren, S, Jiang, H, Muscheler, R, Afrifa, YKK, Rattray, JE & Van der Putten, N 2019, 'A south Atlantic island record uncovers shifts in westerlies and hydroclimate during the last glacial' Climate of the Past Discussions, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 1939-1958. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1939-2019

A south Atlantic island record uncovers shifts in westerlies and hydroclimate during the last glacial. / Björck, Svante; Sjolte, Jesper; Ljung, Karl; Adolphi, Florian; Flower, Roger; Smittenberg, Rienk H.; Kylander, Malin E.; Stocker, Thomas F.; Holmgren, Sofia; Jiang, Hui; Muscheler, Raimund; Afrifa, Yamoah K. K.; Rattray, Jayne E.; Van der Putten, Nathalie.

In: Climate of the Past Discussions, Vol. 15, No. 6, 15.11.2019, p. 1939-1958.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Björck, Svante

AU - Sjolte, Jesper

AU - Ljung, Karl

AU - Adolphi, Florian

AU - Flower, Roger

AU - Smittenberg, Rienk H.

AU - Kylander, Malin E.

AU - Stocker, Thomas F.

AU - Holmgren, Sofia

AU - Jiang, Hui

AU - Muscheler, Raimund

AU - Afrifa, Yamoah K. K.

AU - Rattray, Jayne E.

AU - Van der Putten, Nathalie

PY - 2019/11/15

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N2 - Changes in the latitudinal position and strength of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies (SHW) are thought to be tightly coupled to important climate processes, such as cross-equatorial heat fluxes, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the bipolar seesaw, Southern Ocean ventilation and atmospheric CO2 levels. However, many uncertainties regarding magnitude, direction, and causes and effects of past SHW shifts still exist due to lack of suitable sites and scarcity of information on SHW dynamics, especially from the last glacial. Here we present a detailed hydroclimate multiproxy record from a 36.4-18.6&thinsp;kyr old lake sediment sequence on Nightingale Island (NI). It is strategically located at 37ĝF&thinsp;S in the central South Atlantic (SA) within the SHW belt and situated just north of the marine Subtropical Front (SF). This has enabled us to assess hydroclimate changes and their link to the regional climate development as well as to large-scale climate events in polar ice cores. The NI record exhibits a continuous impact of the SHW, recording shifts in both position and strength, and between 36 and 31&thinsp;ka the westerlies show high latitudinal and strength-wise variability possibly linked to the bipolar seesaw. This was followed by 4&thinsp;kyr of slightly falling temperatures, decreasing humidity and fairly southerly westerlies. After 27&thinsp;ka temperatures decreased 3-4&thinsp;ĝC, marking the largest hydroclimate change with drier conditions and a variable SHW position. We note that periods with more intense and southerly-positioned SHW seem to be related to periods of increased CO2 outgassing from the ocean, while changes in the cross-equatorial gradient during large northern temperature changes appear as the driving mechanism for the SHW shifts. Together with coeval shifts of the South Pacific westerlies, our results show that most of the Southern Hemisphere experienced simultaneous atmospheric circulation changes during the latter part of the last glacial. Finally we can conclude that multiproxy lake records from oceanic islands have the potential to record atmospheric variability coupled to large-scale climate shifts over vast oceanic areas..

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