Climate Dynamics

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 65-74

First online:

A 1,000-year ice core record of interannual to multidecadal variations in atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic

  • Hubertus FischerAffiliated withAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research Email author 
  • , Birgit MiedingAffiliated withAlfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

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Interannual to multidecadal modes in ocean/atmosphere dynamics in the North Atlantic region have been identified using sea salt aerosol proxy records from northern Greenland ice cores over the last 1,000 years. Sea salt concentrations show a consistent relationship with anomalies in the meridional pressure gradient over the North Atlantic region over all considered time scales. These pressure anomalies are connected to shifts in storm tracks, leading to lower pressure and higher storm activity, hence, higher sea salt export over the Greenland ice sheet. Two modes of long-term variability with a period of 10.4 years and 62 years could be identified. The latter is connected to long-term changes in sea surface temperature (SST) as documented by a high correlation of North Atlantic SST with our sea salt record over the last 150 years. Long-term reconstruction of these modes shows that the 10.4-year cycle has been a phenomenon persistent over the last millennium while the 62-year cycle has been mainly active after 1700. Accordingly, the longer-term persistence of this multidecadal variability in sea salt points also to significant variations in SST over the last 300 years.