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Climate signatures on decadal to interdecadal time scales as obtained from mollusk shells (Arctica islandica) from Iceland

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Lohmann, G. and Schoene, B. R. (2013): Climate signatures on decadal to interdecadal time scales as obtained from mollusk shells (Arctica islandica) from Iceland , Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 373 , pp. 152-162 . doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.08.006
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Abstract:

Pronounced decadal climate oscillations are detected in a multi-centennial record based on shell growth rates of the marine bivalve mollusk, Arctica islandica, from Iceland. The corresponding analysis of patterns in sea level pressure and temperature exhibit large-scale teleconnections with North Atlantic climate quantities. We find that the record projects onto blocking situations in the northern North Atlantic. The associated circulation shows a low-pressure signature over Greenland and the Labrador Sea and a high-pressure system over Western Europe associated with northeasterly flow towards Iceland and weakening in the westerly zonal flow over Europe. It can be speculated that such circulation affects food availability controlling shell growth. On multidecadal time scales, the record show a pronounced variability linked to North Atlantic temperature. In our record, we find enhanced variability of the shell growth rates on multidecadal time scales, and it appears that this oscillation has high amplitudes in the 16th to 18th century also consistent with marine alkenone data. It is conceivable that these climate oscillations, also linked to sea ice export and enhanced blocking, are a more pronounced feature during times when the climate was relatively cold.

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