Pacific Ocean Climate Variability: Marine Records of North American Precipitation Patterns

Positive PDO in the North Pacific results in either increased (blue) or decreased (red) winter precipitation in North America. Our projects assesses the strength and variability of PDO-precipitation relationships over the last ~7,000 years.
Positive PDO in the North Pacific results in either increased (blue) or decreased (red) winter precipitation in North America. Our projects assesses the strength and variability of PDO-precipitation relationships over the last ~7,000 years.

Together with a companion project that focuses on terrestrial proxy records, this project aims to reconstruct patterns of climate variability along the Pacific coasts of North America during the last 15,000 years through analysis of diatoms, foraminifers, silicoflagellates, pollen, charcoal, geochemistry, isotopes, and other proxies from marine, estuarine, and lacustrine sediment cores. We produce high-resolution records of marine sea-surface temperature and surface water productivity from the Pacific margins between southeastern Alaska and Mexico and compare these with terrestrial records from estuaries and lakes primarily in California and Nevada. These decadal scale records of the past 1,200 years can be used in regional and global reconstructions of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (~AD 950-1250), and the Little Ice Age (~AD 1350-1850). We also aim to assess (on a regional basis) the links between extensive drought and offshore sea surface temperatures. Our efforts will aid resource managers in their efforts to understand the variability of surface processes in the West and to mitigate the effects of climate change on ecosystems.

Why is this research important?

Modern climate of the Pacific coasts of North America and much of the western US is largely dictated by the sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the eastern North Pacific (i.e., El Niño/La Niña, Pacific Decadal Oscillation). Understanding patterns of natural climate variability is critical to the analysis and interpretation of the impacts of anthropogenic changes. One impact has been in the West; where water availability is the issue of the greatest concern both presently and in projected future (global warming) climate scenarios.

Project Lead:

John A. Barron

Project Team:

Scott W. Starratt, Jason A. Addison, Valerie E. Schwartz, Dave Bukry (emeriti), James Bischoff (emeriti), Walt Dean (emeriti)

37 publications matching the specified parameters were found.

Barron, J.A., Bukry, D., Heusser, L.E., Addison, J.A. and Alexander, C.R., 2017, High-resolution climate of the past ~ 7300 years of coastal northernmost California: Results from diatoms, silicoflagellates, and pollen, Quaternary International.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.10.039

Leeper, R., Rhodes, B., Kirby, M., Scharer, K., Carlin, J., Hemphill-Haley, E., Avnaim-Katav, S., MacDonald, G., Starratt, S. and Aranda, A., 2017, Evidence for coseismic subsidence events in a southern California coastal saltmarsh, Scientific Reports, 7.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep44615

Addison, Jason A., Barron, John, Finney, Bruce, Kusler, Jennifer, Bukry, David, Heusser, Linda E., and Alexander, Clark R., 2016, A Holocene record of ocean productivity and upwelling from the northern California continental slope. Quaternary International, 13 p.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.02.021

Barron, J.A., Bukry, D., and Hendy, I.L., 2015, High-resolution paleoclimatology of the Santa Barbara Basin during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and early Little Ice Age based on diatom and silicoflagellate assemblages in Kasten core SPR0901-02KC: Quaternary International, v. 387, p. 13-22.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.04.020

Barron, J.A., Stickley, C.E., and Bukry, D., 2015, Paleoceanographic, and Paleoclimatic Constraints on the Global Eocene Diatom and Silicoflagellate Record: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimate and Palaeoecology, v. 422, p. 85-100.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.01.015

Heusser, L.E., Hendy, I., and Barron, J. A., 2015, Vegetation response to southern California drought during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and early Little Ice Age (AD 800-1600): Quaternary International, v. 387, p. 23-35.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.032

Maier, K.L., Gatti, E., Wan, E., Ponti, D.J., Pagenkopp, M., Starratt, S.W., Olson, H.A., and Tinsley, J.C., 2015, Quaternary tephrochronology and deposition in the subsurface Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, California, U.S.A.: Quaternary Research, v. 83, p. 378-393.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2014.12.007

McGregor, H.V., Evans, M.N., Goosse, H., Leduc, G., Martrat, B., Addison, J.A., Mortyn, P.G., Oppo, D.W., Seidenkrantz, M.S., Sicre, M.A., Phipps, S.J., Selvaraj, K., Thirumalai, K., Filipsson, H.L., and Ersek, V., 2015, Robust global ocean cooling trend for the pre-industrial Common Era: Nature Geoscience, v. 8, p. 671-677.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2510

Metcalfe, S.E., Barron, J.A., and Davies, S.J., 2015, The Holocene history of the North American Monsoon: 'known knowns' and 'known unknowns' in understanding its spatial and temporal complexity: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 120, p. 1-27.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.04.004

Praetorius, S., Mix, A., Davies, M., Wolhowe, M., Addison, J.A., and Prahl, F., 2015, North Pacific deglacial hypoxic events linked to abrupt ocean warming: Nature, v. 527, p. 362-366.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature15753

Starratt, S.W., 2015, Diatom-derived Holocene Climate History of Medicine Lake, Northern California, USA: Mountain Views, v. 9, p. 12-20.

Wahl, D., Starratt, S., Anderson, L., Kusler, J., Fuller, C., Addison, J., and Wan, E., 2015, Holocene environmental changes inferred from biological and sedimentological proxies in a high elevation Great Basin lake in the Northern Ruby Mountains, Nevada, USA: Quaternary International. v. 38, p. 87-98.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2015.03.026

Abbott, D.H., Breeger, D., Biscaye, P.E., Barron, J.A., Juhl, R.A., and McCafferty, P., 2014, What Caused Terrestrial Dust Loading and Climate Downturns Between 533 and 540 A.D.? in Keller, G. and Kerr, A.C., eds., Volcanism, Impacts and Mass Extinctions: Causes and Effects: Geological Society of America Special Paper 505, p. 421-437.

Barron, J., Bukry, D., and Gersonde, R., 2014, Diatom and silicoflagellate biostratigraphy for the late Eocene: ODP 1090 (sub-Antarctic Atlantic): Nova Hedwigia, Beihefte, v. 143, p. 1-31.

Barron, J.A., Bukry, D., and Cheshire, H., 2014, Response of diatom and silicoflagellate assemblages in the central Gulf of California to regional climate change during the past 55kyrs: Marine Micropaleontology, v. 108, p. 28-40.

Barron, J.A., Bukry, D., and Hendy, I.L., 2014, High-resolution paleoclimatology of the Santa Barbara Basin during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and early Little Ice Age based on diatom and silicoflagellate assemblages in Kasten core SPR0901-02KC: Quaternary International.

Harada, N., Katsuki, K., Nakagawa, M., Matsumoto, A., Seki, O., Addison, J.A., Finney, B.P., and Sato, M., 2014, Holocene sea surface temperature and sea ice extent in the Okhotsk and Bering Seas: Progress in Oceanography, v. 126, p. 242-253.

Lazarus, D., Barron, J., Renaudie, J., Diver, P., and Turke, A., 2014, Cenozoic planktonic marine diatom diversity and correlation to climate change: PloS one, v. 9, no. 1, p. 1-18.

Miller, D.M., Reynolds, R.E., Bright, J.E., and Starratt, S.W., 2014, Bouse Formation in the Bristol basin near Amboy, California, USA: Geosphere, v. 10, no. 3, p. 462-475.

Starratt, S.W., 2014, Preliminary analysis of the role of lake basin morphology on the modern diatom flora in the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt Range, Nevada, USA: Mountain Views, v. 8, p. 8-13.

Addison, J.A., Finney, B.P., Jaeger, J.M., Stoner, J.S., Norris, R.D., and Hangsterfer, A., 2013, Integrating satellite observations and modern climate measurements with the recent sedimentary record: An example from Southeast Alaska, Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, v. 118, p. 3444-3461.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgrc.20243

Barron, J.A., Browning, J., Sugarman, P., and Miller, K.G., 2013, Refinement of late-Early and Middle Miocene diatom biostratigraphy for the East Coast of the United States: Geosphere, v. 9, no. 5, p. 1286-1302.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.130/GES00864

Barron, J.A., Bukry, D., and Field, D.B., 2013, Response of diatoms and silicoflagellates to climate change in the Santa Barbara Basin during the past 250 years and the rise of the toxic diatom Pseudo-nitzschia australis: Quaternary International, v. 310, p. 140-15.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2012.07.02

Browning, J.V., Miller, K., Sugarman, P.J., Barron, J., McCarthy, F.M.G., Kulhanek, D.K., Katz, M.E., and Feigenson, M.D., 2013, Chronology of Eocene-Miocene sequences on the New Jersey shallow shelf: Implications for regional, interregional, and global correlations: Geosphere, v. 9, no. 6, p. 1434-1456.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.130/GES00857

Mensing, S.A., Sharpe, S.E., Tunno, I., Sada, D.W., Thomas, J.M., Starratt, S.W., and Smith, J., 2013, The Late Holocene Dry Period: multiproxy evidence for an extended drought between 2800 and 1850 cal yr BP across the central Great Basin, USA: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 78, p. 266-282.

Morey, A.E., Goldfinger, C., Briles, C.E., Gavin, D.G., Colombaroli, D., and Kusler, J.E., 2013, Are great Cascadia earthquakes recorded in the sedimentary records from small forearc lakes?: Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, v. 13,p. 2441-2463.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/nhess-13-2441-2013

Vaquero, M., Allue, E., Bischoff, J.L., Burjachs, F. and Vallverdu, J., 2013, Environmental, depositional and cultural changes in the Upper Pleistocene and early Holocene: the cinglera del capello sequence (capellades, spain): Quaternaire, v. 24, no. 1, p. 49-64.

Wittke, J.H., Weaver, J.C., Bunch,T.E., Kennett, J.P., Kennett,D.J., Moore, A.M.T., Hillman, G.C., Tankersley, K.B., Goodyear, A.C., Moore, C.R., Daniel, I.R., Jr., Ray, J.H., Lopinot, N.H., Ferraro, D., Israde-Alcantara,I., Bischoff, J.L., DeCarli, P.S., Hermes,R.E., Kloosterman, J.B., Revay, Z., Howard, G.A., Kimbel, D.R., Kletetschka, G., Nabelek, N., Lipo, C.P., Sakai, S., West, A., and Firestone, R.B., 2013, Evidence for deposition of 10 million tonnes of impact spherules across four continents 12,800 y ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 110, no. 23, p. e2088-2097.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1301760110

Addison, J.A., Finney, B.P., Dean, W.E., Davies, M.H., Mix, A.C., Stoner, J.S., and Jaeger, J.M., 2012, Productivity and sedimentary 15N variability along the northern Gulf of Alaska continental slope: Paleoceanography, v. 27, PA1206.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2001PA002161

Barron, J.A., Metcalfe, S. E., and Addison, J.A., 2012, Response of the North American Monsoon to regional changes in ocean surface temperature: Paleoceanography, v. 27, PA3206.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011PA002235

Davies, A., Kemp, A.E.S., Weedon, G.P., and Barron, J.A., 2012, El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability from the Late Cretaceous Marca Shale of California: Geology, v. 40, no. 1, p. 15-18.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G32329.1

Israde-Alcántara, I., Bischoff, J.L., Domínguez-Vázquez, G., Li, H.C., DeCarli, P.S., Bunch, T.E., Wittke, J.H., Weaver, J.C., Firestone, R.B., West, A., Kennett, J.P., Mercerk, C., Xie, S., Richman, E.K., Kinzie, C.R., and Wolbach, W.S., 2012, Evidence from Central Mexico supporting the Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact hypothesis: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 109, no. 13, p. E738-E747.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1110614109

López-García, J. M., Blain, H.-A., Bennàsar, M., Euba, I., Bañuls, S., Bischoff, J., López-Ortega, E., Saladié, P. Uzquiano, P. and Vallverdú, J., 2012, A multiproxy reconstruction of the palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate of the Late Pleistocene in northeastern Iberia: Cova dels Xaragalls, Vimbodí-Poblet, Paratge Natural de Poblet, Catalonia: Boreas, v. 41, pp. 235-249.

Lyle, M., Heusser, L., Ravelo, C., Yamamoto, Ma., Barron, J., Diffenbaugh, N., Herbert, T., and Andreasen, D., 2012, Out of the tropics: The Pacific, Great Basin lakes, and late Pleistocene water cycle in the western US: Science, v. 337, p. 1629-1633.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1218390

Misarti, N., Finney, B., Jordan, J., Maschner, H., Addison, J., Shapley, M., Krumhardt, A., and Beget, J., 2012, Early retreat of the Alaska Peninsula Glacier Complex and the implications for coastal migrations of First Americans: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 48, pg. 1-6.

Starratt, S.W., 2012, Holocene Diatom Flora and Climate History of Medicine Lake, Northern California, USA: Nova Hedwigia, v. 141, p. 485-504.

Barron, J.A., and Anderson, L., 2011, Enhanced Late Holocene ENSO/PDO expression along the margins of the eastern North Pacific: Quaternary International, v. 235, no. 1, p. 3-12.


Holocene Climate of the Pacific Coasts

This project uses marine, estuarine, and lacustrine sediment cores along the Pacific coast of the US to reconstruct climate variability during the last 15,000 years, with a special emphasis placed on high resolution studies of the past 2,000 years. We aim to determine the natural variability of climate (such as sea surface temperatures) in marine records off the western US on annual to millennial time scales during the past 15,000 years, extracting cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Diatoms, foraminifers, silicoflagellates, pollen, geochemistry and other proxies are used and compared with proxy precipitation records in the western US. Records of climate variability in North Pacific estuaries and lakes during the past 15,000 years will also be developed to determine ecosystem changes and to assess regional trends. These records will be compared with published climate records in the West in order to assess (on a regional basis) the links between extensive drought and offshore sea surface temperatures. These records will also be used to understand the variability of surface processes in the West.

Why is this research important?

Modern climate of the Pacific coastal states and much of the western US is largely dictated by the sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in the eastern North Pacific (El Nino/La Nina, PDO). Distinguishing natural climate variability from anthropogenic change is critical. In the West, water availability is the issue of greatest concern both presently and in projected future (global warming) climate scenarios.