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Tropical forcing of increased Southern Ocean climate variability revealed by a 140-year subantarctic temperature reconstruction
Turney, C.S.M.; Fogwill, C.J.; Palmer, J.G.; van Sebille, E.; Thomas, Z.; McGlone, M.; Richardson, S.; Wilmshurst, J.M.; Fenwick, P.; Zunz, V.; Goosse, H.; Wilson, K.-J.; Carter, L.; Lipson, M.; Jones, R.T.; Harsch, M.; Clark, G.; Marzinelli, E.; Rogers, T.; Rainsley, E.; Ciasto, L.; Waterman, S.; Thomas, E.R.; Visbeck, M. (2017). Tropical forcing of increased Southern Ocean climate variability revealed by a 140-year subantarctic temperature reconstruction. Clim. Past 13(3): 231-248.
In: Climate of the Past. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 1814-9324; e-ISSN 1814-9332, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Turney, C.S.M.
  • Fogwill, C.J.
  • Palmer, J.G.
  • van Sebille, E.
  • Thomas, Z.
  • McGlone, M.
  • Richardson, S.
  • Wilmshurst, J.M.
  • Fenwick, P.
  • Zunz, V., more
  • Goosse, H., more
  • Wilson, K.-J.
  • Carter, L.
  • Lipson, M.
  • Jones, R.T.
  • Harsch, M.
  • Clark, G.
  • Marzinelli, E.
  • Rogers, T.
  • Rainsley, E.
  • Ciasto, L.
  • Waterman, S.
  • Thomas, E.R.
  • Visbeck, M.

    Occupying about 14 % of the world's surface, the Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in ocean and atmosphere circulation, carbon cycling and Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics. 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 1940s, a phenomenon predating the observational record. Climate reanalysis and modelling show 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. Our results suggest that modern observed high interannual variability was established across the mid-twentieth century, and that the influence of contemporary equatorial Pacific temperatures may now be a permanent feature across the mid- to high latitudes.

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