Southern Hemispheric Westerlies control sedimentary processes of Laguna Azul (south-eastern Patagonia, Argentina)

Bernd Zolitschka, Michael Fey, Stephanie Janssen, Nora I Maidana, Christoph Mayr, Sabine Wulf, Torsten Haberzettl, Hugo Corbella, Andreas Lücke, Christian Ohlendorf, Frank Schäbitz

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    Multiproxy investigations of lacustrine sediments from Laguna Azul (52 °S) document multi-millennial Holocene influences of Southern Hemispheric Westerlies (SHW) on the hydroclimatic variability of south-eastern Patagonia. During the last 4000 years, this hydroclimatic variability is overprinted by centennial warm/dry periods. A cool/wet period from 11,600 to 10,100 cal. BP is succeeded by an early Holocene dry period (10,100–8300 cal. BP) with a shallow lake, strong anoxia, methanogenesis and high salinity. Between 8300 and 4000 cal. BP the influence of SHW weakened, resulting in a freshwater lake considered to be related to less arid conditions. Since 4000 cal. BP, regional temperature decreased accompanied by re-intensification of SHW reaching full strength since 3000 cal. BP. Centred around 2200, 1000 cal. BP and in the 20th century, Laguna Azul experienced century-long warm/dry spells. Between these dry periods, two pronounced moist periods are suggested to be contemporaneous to the ‘Dark Age Cold Period’ and the ‘Little Ice Age’. Different from millennial SHW variations, centennial fluctuations appear to be synchronous for South America and the Northern Hemisphere. Changes in solar activity, large volcanic eruptions and/or modulations of ocean circulation are potential triggers for this synchronicity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-420
    JournalThe Holocene
    Issue number3
    Early online date20 Dec 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


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