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A continuous holocene record of ENSO variability in Southern Chile - A clue to a better understanding of interhemispheric climate teleconnections (ENSO-CHILI)

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Reference no: EV/02/10
Period: December 2000 till February 2005
Status: Completed

Geographical term: South America [Marine Regions]

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  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Geologie; Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), more, co-ordinator

A better understanding of past climate changes and interhemispheric teleconnections between climate processes requires continuous records of climate proxies from key areas of our planet. The aim of this project is to provide a new record from paleoprecipitation in the Chilean Lake District (SW South America) during the last 12000 years, in order to define the regional impact of 'El Niño Southern Oscillation' (ENSO) and to evaluate possible teleconnections with the northern hemisphere, especially the North Atlantic area. Precipitation in the Lake District (39 - 41 S), is essentially controlled by westerlies, advecting humid polar air from the Pacific, and by the Andean topography. ENSO-events in the area are inducing positive precipitation anomalies, and should be recorded within the lakes as changes in terrigenous sedimentation, under the form of e.g. flood deposits. Special attention will be paid to millennium-timescale abrupt climate changes (like the 'Little Ice Age') during the Holocene and on how they affect the ENSO-system, but also to pluri-decadal cyclicity (i.e. 50-60 yrs) overprints on ENSO-intensities, as recent studies highlight their possible global impact through thermo-haline circulation anomalies.

UGent will be involved with the reconnaissance of the study area, with the regional study of the different lakes, with the actual sediment coring (subcontract to Université de Savoie) and with the development of an age model for the different cores.

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