Abstract

The risk posed by intensification of North Atlantic hurricane activity remains controversial, in part due to a lack of available storm proxy records that extend beyond the relatively stable climates of the late Holocene. Here we present a record of storm-triggered turbidite deposition offshore the Dry Tortugas, south Florida, USA, that spans abrupt transitions in North Atlantic sea-surface temperature and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) during the Younger Dryas (12.9–11.7 ka). Despite potentially hostile conditions for cyclogenesis in the tropical North Atlantic at that time, our record and numerical experiments suggest that strong hurricanes may have regularly affected Florida. Less severe surface cooling at mid-latitudes (∼20°–40°N) than across much of the tropical North Atlantic (∼10°–20°N) in response to AMOC reduction may best explain strong hurricane activity during the Younger Dryas near the Dry Tortugas and possibly along the entire southeastern coast of the United States.

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