1,500-year cycle in the Arctic Oscillation identified in Holocene Arctic sea-ice drift

Abstract

Weather and climate in the Northern Hemisphere is profoundly affected by the Arctic Oscillation, a quasi-periodic fluctuation in atmospheric pressure that occurs on interannual to interdecadal timescales1. Reconstructions of the Arctic Oscillation over longer timescales have suggested additional centennial- to millennial-scale variations in the phase of the oscillation, but often with conflicting results2. Here we assess patterns of sea-ice drift in the Arctic Ocean over the past 8,000 years by geochemically determining the source of ice-rafted iron grains in a sediment core off the coast of Alaska. We identify pulses of sediment carried by sea ice from the Kara Sea3, which can reach the coast of Alaska only during a strongly positive Arctic Oscillation4,5. On the basis of these observations, we construct a record of the Arctic Oscillation phase, and identify a 1,500-year periodicity similar to that found in Holocene records of ice-rafted debris6,7 in the North Atlantic, distinct from a 1,000-year cycle that has been found in total solar irradiance8. We conclude that the 1,500-year cycle in the Arctic Oscillation arises from either internal variability of the climate system or as an indirect response to low-latitude solar forcing.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Map of the Arctic Ocean showing two sea-ice drift regimes.
Figure 2: Plot of the Kara Fe grain weighted percentage in JPC16 compared with the TSI time series.
Figure 3: Time series analysis of the Kara Sea Fe grain weighted percentage and the TSI using MEM, which is superior for resolving narrowband cycles.
Figure 4: Wavelet analysis of the Kara Sea Fe grain spectra and the TSI showing the power of the cycles over the length of the time series and the complete absence of a 1.5-kyr cycle in the solar record.

References

  1. 1

    Hurrell, J. W., Kushnir, Y., Ottersen, G. & Visbeck, M. (eds) The North Atlantic Oscillation: Climatic Significance and Environmental Impact (Geophys. Monogr. Ser., Vol. 134, 1–279, AGU, 2003).

  2. 2

    Luterbacher, J. et al. Extending the North Atlantic Oscillation reconstructions back to 1500. Atmos. Sci. Lett. 2, 114–124 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Darby, D. A. Sources of sediment found in sea ice from the western Arctic Ocean, new insights into processes of entrainment and drift patterns. J. Geophys. Res. 108, 3257 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Mysak, L. A. Patterns of arctic circulation. Science 293, 1269–1270 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Rigor, I. G., Wallace, J. M. & Colony, R. L. On the response of sea ice to the Arctic Oscillation. J. Clim. 15, 2648–2668 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Bond, G. et al. A pervasive millennial-scale cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and glacial climates. Science 278, 1257–1266 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Dansgaard, W. et al. Evidence for general instability of past climate from a 250-kyr ice core record. Nature 364, 218–220 (1993).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Vonmoos, M., Beer, J. & Muscheler, R. Large variations in Holocene solar activity: Constraints from 10Be in the Greenland Ice Core Project ice core. J. Geophys. Res. 111, A10105 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Alley, R. B., Anandakrishnan, S. & Jung, P. Stochastic resonance in the North Atlantic. Paleoceanography 16, 190–198 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Steinhilber, F., Beer, J. & Frohlich, C. Total solar irradiance during the Holocene. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L19704 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Jones, P. D., Jonsson, T. & Wheeler, D. Extension to the North Atlantic Oscillation using early instrumental pressure observations from Gibraltar and south-west Iceland. Int. J. Climatol. 17, 1433–1450 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Olsen, J., Anderson, N. J. & Knudsen, M. F. Variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation over the past 5,200 years. Nature Geo. 5, 808–812 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Kim, J-H. et al. North Pacific and North Atlantic sea-surface temperature variability during the Holocene. Quat. Sci. Rev. 23, 2141–2154 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Lamy, F., Arz, H. W., Bond, G. C., Bahr, A. & Pätzold, J. Multicentennial-scale hydrological changes in the Black Sea and northern Red Sea during the Holocene and the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation. Paleoceanography 21, PA1008 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Darby, D. A. et al. The role of currents and sea ice in both slowly deposited central Arctic and rapidly deposited Chukchi-Alaskan margin sediments. Glob. Planet. Change 68, 58–72 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Darby, D. et al. New record of pronounced changes in Arctic Ocean circulation and climate. EOS 82, 603–607 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Rennermalm, A. K., Wood, E. F., Weaver, A. J., Eby, M. & Déry, S. J. Relative sensitivity of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation to river discharge into Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. J. Geophys. Res. 112, G04S48 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Bond, G. et al. Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Science 294, 2130–2133 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Wagner, G. et al. Presence of the sola deVries cycle ( 205 years) during the last ice age. Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 303–306 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Shindell, D. T., Schmidt, G. A., Mann, M. E., Rind, D. & Waple, A. Solar forcing of regional climate change during the Maunder Minimum. Science 294, 2149–2152 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Braun, H., Ditlevsen, P., Kurths, J. & Mudelsee, M. A two-parameter stochastic process for Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Paleoceanography 26, PA3214 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Marchitto, T. M., Muscheler, R., Ortiz, J. D., Carriquiry, J. D. & van Geen, A. Dynamical response of the tropical Pacific Ocean to solar forcing during the early Holocene. Science 330, 1378–1381 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Emile-Geay, J., Cane, M. A., Seager, R. A., Kaplan, R. & Almasi, P. El Niño as a mediator of the solar influence on climate. Paleoceanography 22, PA3210 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Clement, A. C., Cane, M. A. & Seager, R. An orbitally driven tropical source for abrupt climate change. J. Clim. 14, 2369–2375 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Cohen, J., Foster, J., Barlow, M., Saito, K. & Jones, J. Winter 2009–2010: A case study of an extreme Arctic Oscillation event. Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L17707 (2010).

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Zhao, Y. & Liu, A. K. Arctic sea-ice motion and its relation to pressure field. J. Oceanogr. 63, 505–515 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Kempema, E. W., Reimnitz, E. & Barnes, P. W. Sea ice sediment entrainment and rafting in the Arctic. J. Sedim. Petrol. 59, 308–317 (1989).

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Grigsby, J. D. Chemical fingerprinting in detrital ilmenite: a viable alternative in provenance research? J. Sed. Res. 62, 331–337 (1992).

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Stuiver, M. & Reimer, P. J. Extended 14C database and revised CALIB radiocarbon calibration program. Radiocarbon 35, 215–230 (1993).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Baskaran, M. & Naidu, A. S. 210Pb-derived chronology and the fluxes of 210Pb and 137Cs isotopes into continental shelf sediments, east Chukchi Sea, Alaskan Arctic. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 59, 4435–4448 (1995).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31

    Krantz, H. & Schreiber, T. Nonlinear Time Series Analysis 304 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank R. B. Alley, T. Cronin, L. A. Mysak, L. Polyak and J. T. Andrews for helpful suggestions. L. Keigwin and N. Driscoll obtained core JPC16 and L. Keigwin provided us access for sampling it. This research was supported by NSF-OPP grants ARC-0612493 (D.A.D.) and ARC-0612384 (J.D.O.).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

D.A.D. ran the Fe grain analyses, created the plots of the data, correlated the cores and wrote most of the paper. J.D.O. helped with the writing, figure preparation, statistical analyses, correlations, comparisons of the Fe grain data with other data and the connection with the low-latitude solar forcing of climate. C.E.G. did the time series analysis, helped with the figures dealing with these analyses and wrote the explanation of these methods in the Supplementary Information. S.P.L. sampled and analysed the cores for palaeomagnetic features and helped to correlate these between cores that are well dated by AMS radiocarbon.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dennis A. Darby.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information (PDF 2521 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Darby, D., Ortiz, J., Grosch, C. et al. 1,500-year cycle in the Arctic Oscillation identified in Holocene Arctic sea-ice drift. Nature Geosci 5, 897–900 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1629

Download citation

Further reading