Climate Dynamics

, Volume 43, Issue 5–6, pp 1197–1219 | Cite as

A reconstruction of extratropical Indo-Pacific sea-level pressure patterns during the Medieval Climate Anomaly

  • Ian D. GoodwinEmail author
  • Stuart Browning
  • Andrew M. Lorrey
  • Paul A. Mayewski
  • Steven J. Phipps
  • Nancy A. N. Bertler
  • Ross P. Edwards
  • Tim J. Cohen
  • Tas van Ommen
  • Mark Curran
  • Cameron Barr
  • J. Curt Stager


Subtropical and extratropical proxy records of wind field, sea level pressure (SLP), temperature and hydrological anomalies from South Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Patagonian South America and Antarctica were used to reconstruct the Indo-Pacific extratropical southern hemisphere sea-level pressure anomaly (SLPa) fields for the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA ~700–1350 CE) and transition to the Little Ice Age (LIA 1350–1450 CE). The multivariate array of proxy data were simultaneously evaluated against global climate model output in order to identify climate state analogues that are most consistent with the majority of proxy data. The mean SLP and SLP anomaly patterns derived from these analogues illustrate the evolution of low frequency changes in the extratropics. The Indo-Pacific extratropical mean climate state was dominated by a strong tropical interaction with Antarctica emanating from: (1) the eastern Indian and south-west Pacific regions prior to 1100 CE, then, (2) the eastern Pacific evolving to the central Pacific La Niña-like pattern interacting with a +ve SAM to 1300 CE. A relatively abrupt shift to –ve SAM and the central Pacific El Niño-like pattern occurred at ~1300. A poleward (equatorward) shift in the subtropical ridge occurred during the MCA (MCA–LIA transition). The Hadley Cell expansion in the Australian and Southwest Pacific, region together with the poleward shift of the zonal westerlies is contemporaneous with previously reported Hadley Cell expansion in the North Pacific and Atlantic regions, and suggests that bipolar climate symmetry was a feature of the MCA.


Medieval Climate Anomaly Extratropical Southern Annular Mode Pacific South American Mode Paleo-sea-level pressure reconstruction 



This work is a contribution to the PAGES2K Australasian regional synthesis (part of the PAGES Aus2k project). The research was part funded by a Macquarie University External Collaborative Grant with the News South Wales Office for Environment and Heritage, and the New South Wales Environmental Trust. The research forms a contribution to the Eastern Seaboard Climate Change Initiative (ESCCI). S. Phipps’ CSIRO Mk3L modeling was supported under the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (Project Number DP1092945). AML was supported in part by the NIWA core-funded project “Climate Present and Past”. The paper draws on a significant proxy climate database interpreted from Antarctic Ice Coring and we acknowledge the support of the US National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, Antarctica New Zealand and the Australian Antarctic Division. We thank the reviewers for there constructive suggestions to improve both the methodology and manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian D. Goodwin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stuart Browning
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Lorrey
    • 2
  • Paul A. Mayewski
    • 3
  • Steven J. Phipps
    • 4
  • Nancy A. N. Bertler
    • 5
  • Ross P. Edwards
    • 6
    • 7
  • Tim J. Cohen
    • 8
  • Tas van Ommen
    • 9
    • 10
  • Mark Curran
    • 9
    • 10
  • Cameron Barr
    • 11
  • J. Curt Stager
    • 12
  1. 1.Marine Climate Risk Group and Environmental ScienceMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.National Climate CentreNational Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Climate Change InstituteUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  4. 4.Climate Change Research Centre, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System ScienceUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Joint Antarctic Research InstituteVictoria University and GNS ScienceWellingtonNew Zealand
  6. 6.Desert Research InstituteNevada System of Higher EducationRenoUSA
  7. 7.Department of Imaging and Applied PhysicsCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  8. 8.GeoQuEST Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  9. 9.Australian Antarctic DivisionKingstonAustralia
  10. 10.Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRCUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  11. 11.Discipline of Geography, Environment and PopulationUniversity of AdelaideNorth Terrace, AdelaideAustralia
  12. 12.Natural SciencesPaul Smith’s CollegePaul SmithsUSA

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