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Late Holocene sea-surface temperature and precipitation variability in northern Patagonia, Chile (Jacaf Fjord, 44°S)

  • Julio Sepúlveda (a1), Silvio Pantoja (a2), Konrad A. Hughen (a3), Sébastien Bertrand (a3), Dante Figueroa (a4), Tania León (a2), Nicholas J. Drenzek (a3) and Carina Lange (a2)...
Abstract

A high-resolution multi-proxy study including the elemental and isotopic composition of bulk organic matter, land plant-derived biomarkers, and alkenone-based sea-surface temperature (SST) from a marine sedimentary record obtained from the Jacaf Fjord in northern Chilean Patagonia (∼44°20′S) provided a detailed reconstruction of continental runoff, precipitation, and summer SST spanning the last 1750 yr. We observed two different regimes of climate variability in our record: a relatively dry/warm period before 900 cal yr BP (lower runoff and average SST 1°C warmer than present day) and a wet/cold period after 750 cal yr BP (higher runoff and average SST 1°C colder than present day). Relatively colder SSTs were found during 750–600 and 450–250 cal yr BP, where the latter period roughly corresponds to the interval defined for the Little Ice Age (LIA). Similar climatic swings have been observed previously in continental and marine archives of the last two millennia from central and southern Chile, suggesting a strong latitudinal sensitivity to changes in the Southern Westerly Winds, the main source of precipitation in southern Chile, and validating the regional nature of the LIA. Our results reveal the importance of the Chilean fjord system for recording climate changes of regional and global significance.

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Corresponding author. Fax: +1 617 253 8630. E-mail address: juliosep@mit.edu (J. Sepúlveda).
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1 Present address: Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 45 Carleton Street, E25-623, Cambridge MA 02142, USA.
2 Present address: Alfred Wegener Institute, Am Handelshafen 12, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany.
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