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    Past changes in the North Atlantic storm track driven by insolation and sea-ice forcing


    Orme, Lisa C. and Charman, Daniel J. and Reinhardt, Liam and Jones, Richard T. and Stefanini, Bettina S. and Barkwith, Andrew and Ellis, Michael A. and Grosvenor, Mark (2017) Past changes in the North Atlantic storm track driven by insolation and sea-ice forcing. Geology, 45 (4). pp. 335-338. ISSN 0091-7613

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    Abstract

    Changes in the location of Northern Hemisphere storm tracks may cause significant societal and economic impacts under future climate change, but projections of future changes are highly uncertain and drivers of long-term changes are poorly understood. Here we develop a late Holocene storminess reconstruction from northwest Spain and combine this with an equivalent record from the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, to measure changes in the dominant latitudinal position of the storm track. The north-south index shows that storm tracks moved from a southern position to higher latitudes over the past 4000 yr, likely driven by a change from meridional to zonal atmospheric circulation, associated with a negative to positive North Atlantic Oscillation shift. We suggest that gradual polar cooling (caused by decreasing solar insolation in summer and amplified by sea-ice feedbacks) and mid-latitude warming (caused by increasing winter insolation) drove a steepening of the winter latitudinal temperature gradient through the late Holocene, resulting in the observed change to a more northern winter storm track. Our findings provide paleoclimate support for observational and modeling studies that link changes in the latitudinal temperature gradient and sea-ice extent to the strength and shape of the circumpolar vortex. Together this evidence now suggests that North Atlantic winter storm tracks may shift southward under future warming as sea-ice extent decreases and the mid- to high-latitude temperature gradient decreases, with storms increasingly affecting southern Europe.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: climate change; Atlantic Ocean; Cenozoic; clastic sediments; Great Britain; Europe; Holocene; sand; Quaternary; sediments; North Atlantic; Spain; Southern Europe; upper Holocene; Hebrides; Iberian Peninsula; Outer Hebrides; paleoclimatology; peat; Scotland; United Kingdom; Western Europe;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 11747
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1130/G38521.1
    Depositing User: IR Editor
    Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 16:50
    Journal or Publication Title: Geology
    Publisher: Geological Society of America
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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