Abstract

Determining climate variations over the Holocene requires high-resolution records with well-developed age models. A 40 m long marine sediment core raised from Effingham Inlet, an anoxic fjord on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, yields such a record. Forty six 14C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dates determined from terrestrial plant material form the age model. Downcore sampling at both 5 cm (20 year) and 1.5 cm (7 year) resolution indicates that high-frequency oceanographic variability has prevailed at this site over the last 10 000 years. Spectral analysis of wt.% opal, a proxy for diatom productivity in the basin, reveals the bidecadal and pentadecadal periods of the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) – North Pacific index (NPI) that are related to changes in the strength of the Aleutian Low. Coherence analysis between the Effingham Inlet data and δ18O records from Jellybean Lake (a high elevation site in southwest Yukon) indicates regional coherence at periods of 45, 70, and 510 years between productivity in Effingham Inlet and changes in the Aleutian Low strength. Over the entire Holocene, the strength of decadal variability has changed. Both 20- and 50-year periods are present to some degree in the early Holocene, and only the 50 year period is evident in the late Holocene. These data imply that regime shifts would have been more frequent in the early Holocene relative to the last several thousand years.

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