Postglacial Records of Southern Hemisphere Westerly Wind Variability From the New Zealand Subantarctic Auckland Islands
Abstract:The strength and latitudinal position of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds (SHWW) play a fundamental role in influencing mid latitude climate and carbon dioxide exchange between the Southern Ocean and the atmosphere. Despite their importance, our understanding of past changes in the SHWW is limited by few paleoclimate records from the modern wind maximum that are often not in agreement. The New Zealand subantarctic Auckland Islands are located within the core of the modern wind belt (50°S) where the ocean-atmospheric linkages between the Antarctic and middle latitudes are strong. In contrast to other subantarctic islands on the Campbell Plateau, the Auckland Islands have protected fjord sub-basins, deep lakes, and peatlands that are advantageous for the development of high-resolution paleoclimate records.
We will present ongoing work towards the establishment of multi-proxy and multi-site reconstructions of past SHWW variability from the Auckland Islands. Modern process and paleoclimate results from two research cruises in 2014 and 2015 suggest that in lacustrine and fjord settings, the degree of water column mixing, the stable isotopic composition of n-alkanes and benthic foraminifera, the influx of terrestrial organic matter are good indicators of wind-induced mixing of the water column or precipitation-driven erosion within catchments. In ombrotrophic peatlands, hydrogen isotope ratios of specific organic molecules allow reconstructions of the hydrogen isotope ratios of precipitation, which is related to precipitation source area and the latitudinal position of the SHWW. Using macrofossil counts paired with abundances of leaf wax biomarkers, we are able to estimate the moisture balance at peatland coring sites. Early results indicate an overall strengthening of the SHWW at the Auckland Islands through the Holocene. We will discuss these results within the context of complimentary records developed from New Zealand and southern South America to ultimately obtain a Pacific basin view of Holocene SHWW.