Tropical Pacific climate variability over the last 6000 years as recorded in Bainbridge Crater Lake, Galápagos
AuthorThompson, Diane M.
Conroy, Jessica L.
Hlohowskyj, Stephan R.
Overpeck, Jonathan T.
Cole, Julia E.
Bush, Mark B.
Corley, Timothy L.
Kannan, Miriam Steinitz
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Atmospher Sci
Univ Arizona, Inst Environm
KeywordsEl Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
tropical Pacific Ocean
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
CitationTropical Pacific climate variability over the last 6000 years as recorded in Bainbridge Crater Lake, Galápagos 2017, 32 (8):903 Paleoceanography
Rights©2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
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AbstractFinely laminated sediments within Bainbridge Crater Lake, Galapagos, provide a record of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events over the Holocene. Despite the importance of this sediment record, hypotheses for how climate variability is preserved in the lake sediments have not been tested. Here we present results of long-term monitoring of the local climate and limnology and a revised interpretation of the sediment record. Brown-green, organic-rich, siliciclastic laminae reflect warm, wet conditions typical of El Nino events, whereas carbonate and gypsum precipitate during cool, dry La Nina events and persistent dry periods, respectively. Applying this new interpretation, we find that ENSO events of both phases were generally less frequent during the mid-Holocene (similar to 6100-4000 calendar years B.P.) relative to the last similar to 1500 calendar years. Abundant carbonate laminations between 3500 and 3000 calendar years B.P. imply that conditions in the Galapagos region were cool and dry during this period when the tropical Pacific E-W sea surface temperature (SST) gradient likely strengthened. The frequency of El Nino and La Nina events then intensified dramatically around 1750-2000 calendar years B.P., consistent with a weaker SST gradient and an increased frequency of ENSO events in other regional records. This strong interannual variability persisted until similar to 700 calendar years B.P., when ENSO-related variability at the lake decreased as the SST gradient strengthened. Persistent, dry conditions then dominated between 300 and 50 calendar years B.P. (A.D. 1650-1900, +/- similar to 100 years), whereas wetter conditions and frequent El Nino events dominated in the most recent century. Plain Language Summary Sediments accumulating at the bottom of Bainbridge Crater Lake have provided a record of Galapagos climate and the frequency of El Nino events over the past similar to 6000 years. Motivated by the importance of this lake for our understanding of climate in the tropical Pacific Ocean, we have been monitoring the link between climate, lake conditions, and the physical and chemical properties of the lake sediments since 2009. Based on this long-term monitoring, we find that the Bainbridge sediment record preserves both El Nino and La Nina events. This makes Bainbridge a particularly valuable archive of past climate, as most sediment-based records typically preserve only one or the other key phase of tropical Pacific climate.
Note6 month embargo; published online: 26 August 2017
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID, Program [AGS-1256970, AGS-1561121]; NOAA Climate Program Office; University of Arizona Department of Geosciences; Philanthropic Education Organization; National Science Foundation (NSF) P2C2, Program [AGS-1256970, AGS-1561121]; National Science Foundation (NSF) Geospace Sciences Paleoclimate Program [AGS-1256970, AGS-1561121]