Evidence of 11-year Schwabe solar sunspot cycles, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) were detected in an annual record of diatomaceous laminated sediments from anoxic Effingham Inlet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Radiometric dating and counting of annual varves dates the sediments from AD 1947-1993. Intact sediment slabs were X-rayed for sediment structure (lamina thickness and composition based on gray-scale), and subsamples were examined for diatom abundances and for grain size. Wavelet analysis reveals the presence of ~2-3, ~4.5, ~7 and ~9-12-year cycles in the diatom record and an ~11-13 year record in the sedimentary varve thickness record. These cycle lengths suggest that both ENSO and the sunspot cycle had an influence on primary productivity and sedimentation patterns. Sediment grain size could not be correlated to the sunspot cycle although a peak in the grain size data centered around the mid-1970s may be related to the 1976-1977 Pacific climate shift, which occurred when the PDO index shifted from negative (cool conditions) to positive (warm conditions). Additional evidence of the PDO regime shift is found in wavelet and cross-wavelet results for Skeletonema costatum, a weakly silicified variant of S.costatum, annual precipitation and April to June precipitation. Higher spring (April/May) values of the North Pacific High pressure index during sunspot minima suggest that during this time, increased cloud cover and concomitant suppression of the Aleutian Low (AL) pressure system led to strengthened coastal upwelling and enhanced diatom production earlier in the year. These results suggest that the 11-year solar cycle, amplified by cloud cover and upwelling changes, as well as ENSO, exert significant influence on marine primary productivity in the northeast Pacific. The expression of these cyclic phenomena in the sedimentary record were in turn modulated by the phase of PDO, as indicated by the change in period of ENSO and suppression of the solar signal in the record after the 1976-1977 regime shift.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2013.02.001
Journal Quaternary International
Citation
Patterson, T, Chang, A.S. (Alice S.), Prokoph, A. (Andreas), Roe, H.M. (Helen M.), & Swindles, G.T. (Graeme T.). (2013). Influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, El Niño-Southern Oscillation and solar forcing on climate and primary productivity changes in the northeast Pacific. Quaternary International, 310, 124–139. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.02.001