Teleconnection stationarity, variability and trends of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) during the last millennium

Christoph Dätwyler, Raphael Neukom, Nerilie J. Abram, Ailie J.E. Gallant, Martin Grosjean, Martín Jacques-Coper, David J. Karoly, Ricardo Villalba

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22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is the leading mode of atmospheric interannual variability in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) extra-tropics. Here, we assess the stationarity of SAM spatial correlations with instrumental and paleoclimate proxy data for the past millennium. The instrumental period shows that temporal non-stationarities in SAM teleconnections are not consistent across the SH land areas. This suggests that the influence of the SAM index is modulated by regional effects. However, within key-regions with good proxy data coverage (South America, Tasmania, New Zealand), teleconnections are mostly stationary over the instrumental period. Using different stationarity criteria for proxy record selection, we provide new austral summer and annual mean SAM index reconstructions over the last millennium. Our summer SAM reconstructions are very robust to changes in proxy record selection and the selection of the calibration period, particularly on the multi-decadal timescale. In contrast, the weaker performance and lower agreement in the annual mean SAM reconstructions point towards changing teleconnection patterns that may be particularly important outside the summer months. Our results clearly portend that the temporal stationarity of the proxy-climate relationships should be taken into account in the design of comprehensive regional and hemispherical climate reconstructions. The summer SAM reconstructions show no significant relationship to solar, greenhouse gas and volcanic forcing, with the exception of an extremely strong negative anomaly following the AD 1257 Samalas eruption. Furthermore, reconstructed pre-industrial summer SAM trends are very similar to trends obtained by model control simulations. We find that recent trends in the summer SAM lie outside the 5–95% range of pre-industrial natural variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2321-2339
Number of pages19
JournalClimate Dynamics
Volume51
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Climate reconstruction
  • Holocene
  • Paleoclimate
  • Southern Hemisphere

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