North Atlantic Oscillation Dynamics Recorded in Central Norwegian Fjord Sediments During the Past 2800 Years

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Johan Faust1, Jochen Knies1,2, Karl Fabian1 and Jacques Giraudeau3, (1)Geological Survey of Norway, Marine Geology, Trondheim, Norway, (2)UiT The Arctic University of Norway, CAGE-Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment, and Climate, Dept. of Geology, Tromso, Norway, (3)University of Bordeaux 1, Talence, France
The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is the leading mode of atmospheric circulation variability in the North Atlantic region. Long-term NAO reconstructions are crucial to better understand NAO variability in its response to climate forcing factors, and assess predictability and possible shifts associated with ongoing global warming. However, existing records are rare and often inconsistent (Pinto and Raible, 2012).

Fjord deposits have a great potential for providing high-resolution sedimentary records that reflect local terrestrial and marine processes and, therefore, offer unique opportunities for the investigation of sedimentological and geochemical climatically induced processes. Recently, Faust et al. (2014) provided a comprehensive overview of the Trondheimsfjord environmental system by applying a geochemical multiproxy analysis on surface sediment samples and compared his findings with available geochemical data from the fjords drainage area. Here we use the gained knowledge to establish the first high resolution NAO proxy record from marine sediments. By comparing geochemical measurements from a short sediment core with instrumental data we show that marine primary productivity proxies are sensitive to NAO changes during the past 50 years. This result is used to link a 2,800 years paleoproductivity record to a 500-year long winter NAO reconstruction based on early instrumental and documentary proxy data. We find that NAO variabilities coincide with climatically associated paleo-demographic trends and persistent positive/negative NAO phases are in accordance with cooler/warmer climate periods, such as Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age. Moreover, negative NAO phases coincide with northern hemisphere glacier advances and rapid phase transitions related to large volcanic eruptions indicate the existence of internal atmospheric thresholds and instabilities in the atmospheric circulation pattern.

Faust J.C., Knies J., Slagstad T., Vogt C., Milzer G. and Giraudeau J. (2014) Geochemical composition of Trondheimsfjord surface sediments: Sources and spatial variability of marine and terrigenous components. Cont Shelf Res.

Pinto J.G. and Raible C.C. (2012) Past and recent changes in the North Atlantic oscillation. Wires Clim Change 3, 79-90.