Climate Dynamics

, Volume 48, Issue 1–2, pp 387–404 | Cite as

Accelerated greenhouse gases versus slow insolation forcing induced climate changes in southern South America since the Mid-Holocene

  • Ana Laura Berman
  • Gabriel E. SilvestriEmail author
  • Maisa Rojas
  • Marcela S. Tonello


This paper is a pioneering analysis of past climates in southern South America combining multiproxy reconstructions and the state-of-the-art CMIP5/PMIP3 paleoclimatic models to investigate the time evolution of regional climatic conditions from the Mid-Holocene (MH) to the present. This analysis allows a comparison between the impact of the long term climate variations associated with insolation changes and the more recent effects of anthropogenic forcing on the region. The PMIP3 multimodel experiments suggest that changes in precipitation over almost all southern South America between MH and pre-industrial (PI) times due to insolation variations are significantly larger than those between PI and the present, which are due to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. Anthropogenic forcing has been particularly intense over western Patagonia inducing reduction of precipitation in summer, autumn and winter as a consequence of progressively weaker westerly winds over the region, which have moved further poleward, between ca. 35–55°S and have become stronger south of about 50°S. Orbital variations between the MH to the PI period increased insolation over southern South America during summer and autumn inducing warmer conditions in the PI, accentuated by the effect of anthropogenic forcing during the last century. On the other hand, changes in orbital parameters from the MH to the PI period reduced insolation during winter and spring inducing colder conditions, which have been reversed by the anthropogenic forcing.


Mid-Holocene PMIP3 models natural forcing Anthropogenic forcing South America Patagonia 



We acknowledge the World Climate Research Program’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling, which is responsible for CMIP, and thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Sect. 2) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. Comments and suggestions provided by three anonymous reviewers were very helpful in improving this paper. Ana Laura Berman and Gabriel Silvestri were financed by Grants CONICET-PIP 11220120100526CO and AGENCIA-MINCYT-PICT-2013-0043. Maisa Rojas acknowledges support from Grants FONDECYT #1131055, NC120066 and FONDAP-CONICYT 15110009. Marcela Tonello was supported by Grant UNMdP EXA 678/14.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Laura Berman
    • 1
  • Gabriel E. Silvestri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maisa Rojas
    • 2
  • Marcela S. Tonello
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera/CONICET-UBA, UMI IFAECI/CNRSBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de GeofísicaUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Paleoecologia y Palinologia/Ecología y Paleoecologia de Ambientes Acuáticos Continentales, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC)CONICET-UNMdPMar del PlataArgentina

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