Holocene changes in the position and intensity of the southern westerly wind belt

Lamy, Frank; Kilian, Rolf; Arz, Helge W.; Francois, Jean-Pierre; Kaiser, Jerome; Prange, Matthias; Steinke, Tatjana


The position and intensity of the southern westerly wind belt varies seasonally as a consequence of changes in sea surface temperature. During the austral winter, the belt expands northward and the wind intensity in the core decreases. Conversely, during the summer, the belt contracts, and the intensity within the core is strengthened. Reconstructions of the westerly winds since the last glacial maximum, however, have suggested that changes at a single site reflected shifts throughout the entire southern wind belt(1-4). Here we use sedimentological and pollen records to reconstruct precipitation patterns over the past 12,500 yr from sites along the windward side of the Andes. Precipitation at the sites, located in the present core and northern margin of the westerlies, is driven almost entirely by the wind belt(5), and can be used to reconstruct its intensity. Rather than varying coherently throughout the Holocene epoch, we find a distinct anti-phasing of wind strength between the core and northern margin over multi-millennial timescales. During the early Holocene, the core westerlies were strong whereas the northern margin westerlies were weak. We observe the opposite pattern in the late Holocene. As this variation resembles modern seasonal variability, we suggest that our observed changes in westerly wind strength can best be explained by variations in sea surface temperature in the eastern South Pacific Ocean.

Más información

Título según WOS: ID WOS:000282413900012 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: NATURE GEOSCIENCE
Volumen: 3
Número: 10
Fecha de publicación: 2010
Página de inicio: 695
Página final: 699


Notas: ISI