Millennial-Scale Climate Oscillations in Australia
Kemp, J., Radke, L.C., Olley, J., Juggins, S. and De Deckker, P. 2012. Holocene lake salinity changes in the Wimmera, southeastern Australia, provide evidence for millennial-scale climate variability. Quaternary Research 77: 65-76.
Working with piston cores of sediments extracted from the bottoms of two Wimmera lakes - Jacka Lake and NW Jacka Lake, centered on 36°48'S, 141°48'E in southeastern Australia - the UK and Australian scientists developed palaeosalinity histories for the groundwater-influenced water bodies "from an ostracod-based, weighted-averaging transfer function, supplemented with evidence from Campylodiscus clypeus (diatom), charophyte oogonia, Coxiella striata (gastropod), Elphidium sp. (foraminifera), Daphniopsis sp. ephippia (Cladocera), and brine shrimp (Paratemia zietziana) fecal pellets, the δ18O of ostracods, and >130 µm quartz sand counts," along with a chronology based on "optically stimulated luminescence and calibrated radiocarbon ages." In doing so, Kemp et al. report discovering "short-lived, low-salinity events at 8800, 7200, 5900, 4800, 2400, 1300 and 400 years [that] are similar in timing and number to those recorded on Australia's southern continental shelf, and globally [italics added]." They also say these events "provide evidence for the existence of the ~1500-year cycle in mainland southern Australia," adding they surmise that the low-salinity excursions are "cool events associated with periodic equator-ward shifts in the westerly wind circulation." In addition, they say that a solar origin for the ~1500-year cycle "is favored by some workers (Bond et al., 2001; Mayewski et al., 2004; Versteegh, 2005; Dima and Lohmann, 2009; Helama et al., 2010)," and they report that considerable evidence "suggests that variations in solar output may have caused the position of the westerly flow to vary at centennial to millennial timescales in the late Holocene (Varma et al., 2010)," which interpretation, in their words, "is consistent with climatic excursions during the Holocene recorded in South America (Lamy et al., 2001; Moreno, 2004; Kaiser et al., 2005; Moreno et al., 2009) and in glacial surges in New Zealand's South Island (Gellatly et al., 1988; Suggate, 1990), both linked to varying westerly influence (Fitzharris et al., 1992; Hooker and Fitzharris, 1999), and which are in good agreement with the records obtained here."
Evidence thus continues to accumulate for the reality of both centennial- and millennial-scale cycles of climate change that ultimately have their origin in similarly-timed oscillations of some aspect of solar activity.
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