Ocean-atmosphere forcing of centennial hydroclimatic variability in the Pacific Northwest

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 



Reconstructing centennial timescale hydroclimate variability during the late Holocene is critically important for understanding large-scale patterns of drought and their relationship with climate dynamics. We present sediment oxygen isotope records spanning the last two millennia from 10 lakes, as well as climate model simulations, indicating that the Little Ice Age was dry relative to the Medieval Climate Anomaly in much of the Pacific Northwest of North America. This pattern is consistent with observed associations between the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Northern Annular Mode and drought as well as with proxy-based reconstructions of Pacific ocean-atmosphere variations over the past 1000 years. The large amplitude of centennial variability indicated by the lake data suggests that regional hydroclimate is characterized by longer-term shifts in ENSO-like dynamics, and that an improved understanding of the centennial timescale relationship between external forcing and drought conditions is necessary for projecting future hydroclimatic conditions in western North America.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ocean-atmosphere forcing of centennial hydroclimatic variability in the Pacific Northwest
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2014GL059499
Volume 41
Issue 7
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Geophysical Research Letters
First page 2553
Last page 2560
Country Canada;United States
Other Geospatial Pacific Northwest
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