Climate Dynamics

, Volume 21, Issue 3–4, pp 317–326 | Cite as

Comparing modern and Pleistocene ENSO-like influences in NW Argentina using nonlinear time series analysis methods

  • N. Marwan
  • M. H. Trauth
  • M. Vuille
  • J. Kurths


Higher variability in rainfall and river discharge could be of major importance in landslide generation in the northwestern Argentine Andes. Annual layered (varved) deposits of a landslide dammed lake in the Santa Maria Basin (26°S, 66°W) with an age of 30,000 14C years provide an archive of precipitation variability during this time. The comparison of these data with present-day rainfall observations tests the hypothesis that increased rainfall variability played a major role in landslide generation. A potential cause of such variability is the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The causal link between ENSO and local rainfall is quantified by using a new method of nonlinear data analysis, the quantitative analysis of cross recurrence plots (CRP). This method seeks similarities in the dynamics of two different processes, such as an ocean–atmosphere oscillation and local rainfall. Our analysis reveals significant similarities in the statistics of both modern and palaeo-precipitation data. The similarities in the data suggest that an ENSO-like influence on local rainfall was present at around 30,000 14C years ago. Increased rainfall, which was inferred from a lake balance modeling in a previous study, together with ENSO-like cyclicities could help to explain the clustering of landslides at around 30,000 14C years ago.


Southern Oscillation Index Rock Avalanche Local Rainfall Phase Space Trajectory Nonlinear Time Series Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is part of the Collaborative Research Center 267 Deformation Processes in the Andes and the Priority Programme Geomagnetic variations: Spatio-temporal structures, processes and impacts on the system Earth supported by the German Research Foundation. We gratefully acknowledge the help of U. Schwarz and M. Thiel for useful conversations and discussions and U. Bahr and M. Strecker for support of this work. Further we would like to thank the NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center for providing COADS and CMAP data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Marwan
    • 1
  • M. H. Trauth
    • 2
  • M. Vuille
    • 3
  • J. Kurths
    • 1
  1. 1.Nonlinear Dynamics Group, Institute of Physics, University of Potsdam, Potsdam 14415, Germany
  2. 2.Institute of of Earth Sciences, University of Potsdam, Potsdam 14415, Germany
  3. 3.Climate System Research Center, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

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