Advertisement

Tree-Ring and Glacial Evidence for the Medieval Warm Epoch and the Little Ice Age in Southern South America

  • Ricardo Villalba

Abstract

A tree-ring reconstruction of summer temperatures from northern Patagonia shows distinct episodes of higher and lower temperature during the last 1000 yr. The first cold interval was from A.D. 900 to 1070, which was followed by a warm period A.D. 1080 to 1250 (approximately coincident with the Medieval Warm Epoch). Afterwards a long, cold-moist interval followed from A.D. 1270 to 1660, peaking around 1340 and 1640 (contemporaneously with early Little Ice Age events in the Northern Hemisphere). In central Chile, winter rainfall variations were reconstructed using tree rings back to the year A.D. 1220. From A.D. 1220 to 1280, and from A.D. 1450 to 1550, rainfall was above the long-term mean. Droughts apparently occurred between A.D. 1280 and 1450, from 1570 to 1650, and from 1770 to 1820. In northern Patagonia, radiocarbon dates and tree-ring dates record two major glacial advances in the A.D. 1270–1380 and 1520–1670 intervals. In southern Patagonia, the initiation of the Little Ice Age appears to have been around A.D. 1300, and the culmination of glacial advances between the late 17th to the early 19th centuries.

Most of the reconstructed winter-dry periods in central Chile are synchronous with cold summers in northern Patagonia, resembling the present regional patterns associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The years A.D. 1468–69 represent, in both temperature and precipitation reconstructions from treerings, the largest departures during the last 1000 yr. A very strong ENSO event was probably responsible for these extreme deviations. Tree-ring analysis also indicates that the association between a weaker southeastern Pacific subtropical anticyclone and the occurence of El Niño events has been stable over the last four centuries, although some anomalous cases are recognized.

Keywords

Tree Ring Southern Oscillation Radiocarbon Date Cold Event Winter Rainfall 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aceituno, P.: 1988, ‘On the Functioning of the Southern Oscillation in the South American Sector. Part I: Surface Climate’, Mon. Wea. Rev. 116, 505–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aceituno, P. and Montecinos, A.: 1992, ‘Análisis de 1a Estabilidad de 1a Relación entre la Oscilación Sur y la Precipitación en América del Sur’, Ortlieb, L. and Macharé, J. (eds.), Paleo ENSO Records Intern. Symp. Extended Abstracts, ORSTOM-CONCYTEC, Lima, pp. 7–13.Google Scholar
  3. Boninsegna, J. A.: 1988, ‘Santiago de Chile Winter Rainfall since 1220 as Being Reconstructed by Tree Rings’, Quatern. South Amer. Antarct. Penins. 6, 67–87.Google Scholar
  4. Clapperton, C. M.: 1983, ‘The Glaciation of the Andes’, Quatern. Sci. Rev. 2, 83–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. COHMAP members: 1988, ‘Climatic Changes of the last 18,000 Years: Observations and Model Simulations’, Science 241, 1043–1052.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook, E., Bird, T., Peterson, M., Barbetti, M., Buckley, B., D’Arrigo, R., Francey, R., and Tans, P.: 1991, ‘Climatic Change in Tasmania Inferred from a 1089-Year Tree-Ring Chronology of Huon Pine’, Science 253, 1266–1268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deser, C. and Wallace, J. M.: 1987, ‘El Niño Events and Their Relation to the Southern Oscillation: 1925–1986’, J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14189–14196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grove, J. M.: 1988, The Little Ice Age, routledge, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fritts, H. C.: 1976, Tree Rings and Climate, academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  10. Hocquenghem, A. M. and Ortlieb, L.: 1992, ‘Historical Record of El Niño Events in Perú (XVI-XVIIIth Centuries): The Quinn et al. (1987) Chronology Revisited’, in Ortlieb, L. and Macharé, J. (eds.), Paleo ENSO Records, Extended Abstracts, ORSTOM-CONCYTEC, Lima, pp. 143–149.Google Scholar
  11. Karoly, D. J.: 1989, ‘Southern Hemisphere Circulation Features Associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation Events’, J. Clim. 2, 1239–1252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kiladis, G. N. and Diaz, H. F.: 1989, ‘Global Climatic Anomalies with Extremes in the Southern Oscillation’, J. Clim. 2, 1069–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lamb, H. H.: 1977, Climate: Present, Past and Future, Vol. 2, methuen, London.Google Scholar
  14. Leiva, J. C., Lenzano, L. E., Cabrera, G. A., and Suarez, J. A.: 1989, ‘Variations of Río Plomo Glaciers, Andes Centrales Argentinos’, in Oerlemans, J. (eds.), Glacier Fluctuations and Climatic Change, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 143–151.Google Scholar
  15. Mercer, J. H.: 1968, ‘Variations of Some Patagonian Glaciers since the Late-Glacial: I’, Amer. J. Sci. 266, 91–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mercer, J. H.: 1970, ‘Variations of Some Patagonian Glaciers since the Late-Glacial: II.’, Amer. J. Sci. 269, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Minetti, J. L. and Sierra, E. M.; 1989, ‘The Influence of General Circulation Patterns on Humid and Dry Years in the Cuyo Andean Region of Argentina’, Intern. J. Climatol. 9, 55–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pittock, A. B.: 1980, ‘Patterns of Climatic Variation in Argentina and Chile. I. Precipitation, 1931–1960’, Mon. Wea. Rev. 108, 1347–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Politis, G. C.: 1984, ‘Climatic Variations during Historical Times in Eastern Buenos Aires Pampas, Argentina’, Quatern. South Amer. Antarc. Penins. 2, 133–162.Google Scholar
  20. Quinn, W. H. and Neal, V. T.: 1992, The Historical Record of El Niño events’, in Bradley, R. S. and Jones, P. D. (eds.), Climate since A. D. 1500, Routledge, London, pp. 623–648.Google Scholar
  21. Quinn, W. H., Neal, V. T., and Antunez de mayolo, S. E.: 1987, ‘El Niño Occurrences over the Past Four and a Half Centuries’, J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14449–14461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rabassa, J. and Clapperton, C. M.: 1990, ‘Quaternary Glaciations of the Southern Andes’, Quatern. Sci. Rev. 2, 153–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ropelewski, C. F. and Halpert, M. S.: 1987, ‘Global and Regional Scale Precipitation Patterns Associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation’, Mon. Wea. Rev. 115, 1606–1626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Röthlisberger, F.: 1986, 1000 Jahre Glestschergerchichte der Erde, Salzburg: Verlag Sauerlander.Google Scholar
  25. Rubin, M. J.: 1955, ‘An Analysis of Pressure Anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere’, Notos 4, 11–16.Google Scholar
  26. Rutlland, J., and Fuenzalida, H.: 1991, ‘Synoptic aspects of the central Chile rainfall variability associated with the Southern Oscillation’, International Journal of Climatology 11, 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Stuiver, M. and Becker, B.: 1986, ‘High-Precision Decadal Calibration of the Radiocarbon Time Scale, A.D. 1950–2500 BC’, Radiocarbon 28, 863–910.Google Scholar
  28. Taljard, J. J.: 1972, ‘Synoptic Meteorology of the Southern Hemisphere’, Meteorol Monogr. 13, 139–213.Google Scholar
  29. Taulis, E.: 1934, ‘De 1a Distribution des Pluies au Chile’, Materouxpour l’Etude des Calamites, Part 1, Societe de Geographie de Geneve, pp. 3–20.Google Scholar
  30. Van der Hammen, T.: 1991, ‘Palaeoecological Background: Neotropics’, Clim. Change 19, 37–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Villalba, R.: 1990a, ‘Climatic Fluctuations in Northern Patagonia in the Last 1000 Years as Inferred from Tree-Ring Records’, Quatern. Res. 34, 346–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Villalba, R.: 1990b, ‘Latitude of the Surface High-Pressure Belt over Western South America during the Last 500 Years as Inferred from Tree-Ring Analysis’, Quatern. South Amer. Antarct. Penins. 7, 273–303.Google Scholar
  33. Villalba, R., Leiva, J. C., Rubulis, S., Suarez, J. A., and Lenzano, L.: 1990, ‘Climate, Tree-Ring and Glacial Fluctuations in the Río Frías Valley, Río Negro, Argentina’, Arc. Alp. Res. 22, 215–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Williams, L. D. and Wigley, T. M. L.: 1983, ‘Comparison of Evidence for Late Holocene Summer Temperature Variations in the Northern Hemisphere’, Quatern. Res. 20, 286–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wells, L. E.: 1987, ‘An Alluvial Record of El Niño Events from Northern Coastal Perú’, J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14463–14470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wells, L. E.: 1990, ‘Holocene History of the El Niño Phenomenon as Recorded in Flood Sediments of Northern Coastal Perú’, Geology 18, 1134–1137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Villalba
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations