Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Decadal-interdecadal climate variability over Antarctica and linkages to the Tropics: analysis of ice core, instrumental, and tropical proxy data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Yuko Okumura, David Schneider, Clara Deser, Rob Wilson

School/Research organisations


The Antarctic continent contains the majority of the global ice volume and plays an important role in a changing climate. The nature and causes of Antarctic climate variability are, however, poorly understood beyond interannual time scales due to the paucity of long, reliable meteorological observations. This study analyzes decadal-interdecadal climate variability over Antarctica using a network of annually resolved ice core records and various instrumental and tropical proxy data for the 19th and 20th centuries. During the 20th century, Antarctic ice core
records indicate strong linkages to sea surface temperature (SST) variations in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic on decadal-interdecadal time scales. Antarctic surface temperature anomalies inferred from the ice cores are consistent with the associated changes in atmospheric circulation and thermal advection. A set of atmospheric general circulation model experiments supports the idea that decadal SST variations in the tropics force atmospheric teleconnections that affect Antarctic surface temperatures. When coral and other proxies for tropical climate are used to extend the analysis back to 1799, a similar Antarctic-tropical Pacific linkage is found, with evidence for a weaker connection during the first half of the 19th century. Over the past 50 years, a change in the phase of Pacific and Atlantic interdecadal variability may have contributed to the rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica and related changes in ice sheet dynamics.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7421–7441
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012

    Research areas

  • Antarctica, Tropics, Teleconnections, Paleoclimate, Decadal variability, Interdecadal variability

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Disproportionately strong climate forcing from extratropical explosive volcanic eruptions

    Toohey, M., Krüger, K., Schmidt, H., Timmreck, C., Sigl, M., Stoffel, M. & Wilson, R., Feb 2019, In : Nature Geoscience. 12, 2, p. 100-107 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Tree rings reveal globally coherent signature of cosmogenic radiocarbon events in 774 and 993 CE

    Büntgen, U., Wacker, L., Galván, J. D., Arnold, S., Arseneault, D., Baillie, M., Beer, J., Bernabei, M., Bleicher, N., Boswijk, G., Bräuning, A., Carrer, M., Ljungqvist, F. C., Cherubini, P., Christl, M., Christie, D. A., Clark, P. W., Cook, E. R., D’Arrigo, R., Davi, N. & 47 othersEggertsson, Ó., Esper, J., Fowler, A. M., Gedalof, Z., Gennaretti, F., Grießinger, J., Grissino-Mayer, H., Grudd, H., Gunnarson, B. E., Hantemirov, R., Herzig, F., Hessl, A., Heussner, K-U., Jull, A. J. T., Kukarskih, V., Kirdyanov, A., Kolář, T., Krusic, P. J., Kyncl, T., Lara, A., LeQuesne, C., Linderholm, H. W., Loader, N. J., Luckman, B., Miyake, F., Myglan, V. S., Nicolussi, K., Oppenheimer, C., Palmer, J., Panyushkina, I., Pederson, N., Rybníček, M., Schweingruber, F. H., Seim, A., Sigl, M., Churakova (Sidorova), O., Speer, J. H., Synal, H-A., Tegel, W., Treydte, K., Villalba, R., Wiles, G., Wilson, R., Winship, L. J., Wunder, J., Yang, B. & Young, G. H. F., 6 Sep 2018, In : Nature Communications. 9, 7 p., 3605.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. A combined tree ring and vegetation model assessment of European forest growth sensitivity to interannual climate variability

    Klesse, S., Babst, F., Lienert, S., Spahni, R., Joos, F., Bouriaud, O., Carrer, M., Di Filippo, A., Poulter, B., Trotsiuk, V., Wilson, R. & Frank, D. C., 23 Aug 2018, In : Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Early View, 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Large-scale, millennial-length temperature reconstructions from tree-rings

    Esper, J., George, S. S., Anchukaitis, K., D'Arrigo, R., Ljungqvist, F., Luterbacher, J., Schneider, L., Stoffel, M., Wilson, R. & Büntgen, U., Aug 2018, In : Dendrochronologia. 50, p. 81-90 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Blue intensity from a tropical conifer’s annual rings for climate reconstruction: an ecophysiological perspective

    Buckley, B. M., Hansen, K. G., Griffin, K. L., Schmiege, S., Oelkers, R., D’Arrigo, R. D., Stahle, D. K., Davi, N., Nguyen, T. Q. T., Le, C. N. & Wilson, R. J. S., Aug 2018, In : Dendrochronologia. 50, p. 10-22 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Atmospheric dynamics feedback: concept, simulations and climate implications

    Byrne, M. & Schneider, T., 26 Mar 2018, In : Journal of Climate. 31, 8, p. 3249-3264

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Energetic constraints on the width of the intertropical convergence zone

    Byrne, M. P. & Schneider, T., Jul 2016, In : Journal of Climate. 29, 13, p. 4709-4721

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Understanding decreases in land relative humidity with global warming: conceptual model and GCM simulations

    Byrne, M. P. & O'Gorman, P., 15 Dec 2016, In : Journal of Climate. 29, p. 9045-9061 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Control of mode and intermediate water mass properties in Drake Passage by the Amundsen Sea low

    Close, S., Naveira Garabato, A., McDonagh, E., King, B., Biuw, M. & Boehme, L., Jul 2013, In : Journal of Climate. 26, 14, p. 5102-5123 22 p., JCLI-D-12-00346.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 23270104