Geophysical Research Letters

Coralline alga reveals first marine record of subarctic North Pacific climate change



[1] While recent changes in subarctic North Pacific climate had dramatic effects on ecosystems and fishery yields, past climate dynamics and teleconnection patterns are poorly understood due to the absence of century-long high-resolution marine records. We present the first 117-year long annually resolved marine climate history from the western Bering Sea/Aleutian Island region using information contained in the calcitic skeleton of the long-lived crustose coralline red alga Clathromorphum nereostratum, a previously unused climate archive. The skeletal δ18O-time series indicates significant warming and/or freshening of surface waters after the middle of the 20th century. Furthermore, the time series is spatiotemporally correlated with Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and tropical El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indices. Even though the western Bering Sea/Aleutian Island region is believed to be outside the area of significant marine response to ENSO, we propose that an ENSO signal is transmitted via the Alaskan Stream from the Eastern North Pacific, a region of known ENSO teleconnections.