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Evidence for increased expression of the Amundsen Sea Low over the South Atlantic during the late Holocene

Evidence for increased expression of the Amundsen Sea Low over the South Atlantic during the late Holocene Thumbnail


Abstract

The Amundsen Sea Low (ASL) plays a major role in the climate and environment of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, including surface air temperature and sea ice concentration changes. Unfortunately, a relative dearth of observational data across the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas prior to the satellite era (post-1979) limits our understanding of the past behaviour and impact of the ASL. The limited proxy evidence for changes in the ASL are primarily restricted to the Antarctic where ice core evidence suggests a deepening of the atmospheric pressure system during the late Holocene. However, no data have previously been reported from the northern side of the ASL. Here we report a highresolution, multi-proxy study of a 5000-year-long peat record from the Falkland Islands, a location sensitive to contemporary ASL dynamics which modulates northerly and westerly airflow across the southwestern South Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. In combination with climate reanalysis, we find a marked period of wetter, colder conditions most likely the result of enhanced southerly airflow between 5000 and
2500 years ago, suggesting limited ASL influence over the region. After 2500 years ago, drier and warmer conditions were established, implying more westerly airflow and the increased projection of the ASL onto the South Atlantic. The possible role of the equatorial Pacific via atmospheric teleconnections in driving this change is discussed. Our results are in agreement with Antarctic ice core records and fjord sediments from the southern South American coast, and suggest that the Falkland Islands provide a valuable location for
reconstructing high southern latitude atmospheric circulation changes on multi-decadal to millennial timescales.

Citation

(2018). Evidence for increased expression of the Amundsen Sea Low over the South Atlantic during the late Holocene. Climate of the Past, 1727 -1738. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1727-2018

Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2018
Publication Date Nov 13, 2018
Journal Climate of the Past
Print ISSN 1814-9324
Publisher European Geosciences Union (EGU)
Pages 1727 -1738
DOI https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1727-2018
Publisher URL http://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1727-2018

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