CR 19:233-245 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/cr019233

Climate variability from the Florida Bay sedimentary record: possible teleconnections to ENSO, PNA and CNP

Thomas M. Cronin1,*, Gary S. Dwyer2, Sara B. Schwede1, Cheryl D. Vann1, Harry Dowsett1

1United States Geological Survey, 9264 National Center, Reston, Virginia 20192, USA
2Department of Geology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA

ABSTRACT: We analyzed decadal and interannual climate variability in South Florida since 1880 using geochemical and faunal paleosalinity indicators from isotopically dated sediment cores at Russell Bank in Florida Bay (FB). Using the relative abundance of 2 ostracode species and the Mg/Ca ratios in Loxoconcha matagordensis shells to reconstruct paleosalinity, we found evidence for cyclic oscillations in the salinity of central FB. During this time salinity fluctuated from as low as ~18 parts per thousand (ppt) to as high as ~57 ppt. Time series analyses suggest, in addition to a 5.6 yr Mg/Ca based salinity periodicity, there are 3 other modes of variability in paleosalinity indicators: 6-7, 8-9, and 13-14 yr periods which occur in all paleo-proxies. To search for factors that might cause salinity to vary in FB, we compared the Russell Bank paleosalinity record to South Florida winter rainfall, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the winter Pacific North American (PNA) index, and a surrogate for the PNA in the winter season, the Central North Pacific (CNP) index. SOI and PNA/CNP appear to be associated with South Florida winter precipitation. Time series analyses of SOI and winter rainfall for the period 1910-1999 suggest ~5, 6-7, 8-9 and 13-14 yr cycles. The 6-7 yr and 13-14 yr cycles correspond to those observed in the faunal and geochemical time series from Russell Bank. The main periods of the CNP index are 5-6 and 13-15 yr, which are similar to those observed in FB paleosalinity. Cross-spectral analyses show that winter rainfall and salinity are coherent at 5.6 yr with a salinity lag of ~1.6 mo. These results suggest that regional rainfall variability influences FB salinity over interannual and decadal timescales and that much of this variability may have its origin in climate variability in the Pacific Ocean/atmosphere system.

KEY WORDS: Paleoclimate · Florida Bay · Salinity · Shell geochemistry · ENSO · Pacific North American index

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