El Niño-Like Climate Teleconnections in New England During the Late Pleistocene

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Science  12 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5468, pp. 1039-1042
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5468.1039

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A glacial varve chronology from New England spanning the 4000-year period from 17,500 to 13,500 calendar years before the present was analyzed for evidence of climate variability during the late Pleistocene. The chronology shows a distinct interannual (3 to 5 years) band of enhanced variability suggestive of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) teleconnections into North America during the late Pleistocene, when the Laurentide ice sheet was near its maximum extent and climatic boundary conditions were different than those of today. This interannual variability largely disappears by the young end of the 4000-year chronology, with only the highest frequency components (roughly 3-year period) persisting. This record provides evidence of ENSO-like climate variability during near-peak glacial conditions.

  • * Present address: Department of Geosciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tammyr{at}

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