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Solar forcing of the polar atmosphere

  • Paul Andrew Mayewski (a1), Kirk A. Maasch (a1), Yuping Yan (a1), Shichang Kang (a1), Eric A. Meyerson (a1), Sharon B. Sneed (a1), Susan D. Kaspari (a1), Daniel A. Dixon (a1), Erich C. Osterberg (a1), Vin I. Morgan (a2), Tas van Ommen (a2) and Mark A.J. Curran (a2)...


We present highly resolved, annually dated, calibrated proxies for atmospheric circulation from several Antarctic ice cores (ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition), Siple Dome, Law Dome) that reveal decadal-scale associations with a South Pole ice-core 10Be proxy for solar variability over the last 600 years and annual-scale associations with solar variability since AD 1720. We show that increased (decreased) solar irradiance is associated with increased (decreased) zonal wind strength near the edge of the Antarctic polar vortex. The association is particularly strong in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and as such may contribute to understanding climate forcing that controls drought in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere climate events. We also include evidence suggestive of solar forcing of atmospheric circulation near the edge of the Arctic polar vortex based on ice-core records from Mount Logan, Yukon Territory, Canada, and both central and south Greenland as enticement for future investigations. Our identification of solar forcing of the polar atmosphere and its impact on lower latitudes offers a mechanism for better understanding modern climate variability and potentially the initiation of abrupt climate-change events that operate on decadal and faster scales.

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