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Tropical forcing of increased Southern Ocean climate variability revealed by a 140-year subantarctic temperate reconstruction

Turney, Chris S. M.; Fogwill, Christopher J.; Palmer, Jonathan G.; van Sebille, Erik; Thomas, Zoë; McGlone, Matt; Richardson, Sarah; Wilmshurst, Janet M.; Fenwick, Pavla; Zunz, Violette; Goosse, Hugues; Wilson, Kerry-Jayne; Carter, Lionel; Lipson, Mathew; Jones, Richard T.; Harsch, Melanie; Clark, Graeme; Marzinelli, Ezequiel; Rogers, Tracey; Rainsley, Eleanor; Ciasto, Laura; Waterman, Stephanie; Thomas, Elizabeth R.; Visbeck, Martin. 2017 Tropical forcing of increased Southern Ocean climate variability revealed by a 140-year subantarctic temperate reconstruction. Climate of the Past, 13 (3). 231-248. 10.5194/cp-13-231-2017

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Abstract/Summary

Occupying 14% of the world’s surface, the Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in global climate, ocean circulation, carbon cycling and Antarctic ice-sheet stability. Unfortunately, high interannual variability and a dearth of instrumental observations before the 1950s limits our understanding of how marine-atmosphere-ice domains interact on multi-decadal timescales and the impact of anthropogenic forcing. Here we integrate climate-sensitive tree growth with ocean and atmospheric observations on southwest Pacific subantarctic islands that lie at the boundary of polar and subtropical climates (52–54˚S). Our annually-resolved temperature reconstruction captures regional change since the 1870s and demonstrates a significant increase in variability from the mid-twentieth century, a phenomenon predating the observational record. Climate reanalysis and modelling shows a parallel change in tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures that generate an atmospheric Rossby wave train which propagates across a large part of the Southern Hemisphere during the austral spring and summer.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.5194/cp-13-231-2017
Programmes: BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Ice Dynamics and Palaeoclimate
ISSN: 1814-9359
Date made live: 19 Dec 2016 09:33 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/515555

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