A new perspective on the hydroclimate variability in northern South America during the Little Ice Age

Justin Reuter, Lowell Stott, Deborah Khider, Ashish Sinha, Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

An absolute dated speleothem oxygen isotope (δ18O) record from northeastern Peru documents monsoon precipitation variability over northern South America during the past that 1000 years and indicates the annual precipitation in the 15th through the 18th centuries, the so-called Little Ice Age (LIA), was on average ∼10% higher than during the 20th century. Over the 20th century recurrent modes of seasonal rainfall variability across northern South America were associated with discrete sea surface temperature anomaly patterns within the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Calling upon these SST-rainfall teleconnectivity patterns, and paleo-SST reconstructions that span the past 8 centuries, higher annual rainfall across northern South America during the LIA is attributed to cooler boreal spring SSTs in the tropical North Atlantic. Weaker co-variance between north Atlantic SSTs and the South American Monsoon System (SAMS) rainfall during the 20th century suggests that ENSO has become a more dominant influence than it was during the LIA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL21706
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

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