Millennial-scale variability in Southern Hemisphere westerly wind activity over the last 5000 years in SW Patagonia

MORENO, PI; Francois, JP; Villa-Martinez, RP; Moy, CM

Abstract

Here we report results from a high-resolution palynological record and stratigraphic/geochronologic data related to a Neoglacial event in Torres del Paine National Park, southern Chile (51°S, 71°W), to investigate climatic variations in Southwest Patagonia during the last 5000 years. The record reveals a stepwise expansion of Nothofagus-dominated woodlands and forests with discrete pulses at 4400, 2900, 1300, and 570 cal yr BP. Superimposed upon this trend we identify a relative opening of the woodlands between 4100-2900 and 2300-1300 cal yr BP. Closed-canopy forests dominated the landscape between 570-60 cal yr BP, followed by a rapid decline at the end of the 19th century that coincided with intense fire activity and the appearance of Rumex cf. acetocella, an exotic species introduced by European settlers. We interpret these changes as variations in the intensity and/or position of the southern margin of the westerly winds, which culminated with a net eastward shift of the forest-steppe ecotone during the Little Ice Age. We propose that millennial-scale changes in either the latitudinal position and/or the overall strength of the southern westerlies may be responsible for vegetation changes, fire occurrence, and the dynamic behavior of Patagonian glaciers during the last 5000 years. Because the modern maximum in near-surface wind velocities and precipitation is located between 48° and 50°S, we suggest that the core of the southern westerlies may have achieved this modern position ~570 years ago. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Más información

Título según WOS: Millennial-scale variability in Southern Hemisphere westerly wind activity over the last 5000 years in SW Patagonia
Título según SCOPUS: Millennial-scale variability in Southern Hemisphere westerly wind activity over the last 5000 years in SW Patagonia
Título de la Revista: QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS
Volumen: 28
Número: 01-feb
Editorial: Elsevier
Fecha de publicación: 2009
Página de inicio: 25
Página final: 38
Idioma: English
URL: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0277379108002886
DOI:

10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.10.009

Notas: ISI, SCOPUS