The polar expression of ENSO and sea-ice variability as recorded in a South Pole ice core

Eric A. Meyerson
Paul A. Mayewski
Karl J. Kreutz
L. David Meeker
Sallie I. Whitlow
Mark S. Twickler

Abstract/ Summary

An annually dated ice core recovered from South Pole (2850 m a.s.l.) in 1995, that covers the period 1487-1992, was analyzed for the marine biogenic sulfur species methanesulfonate (MS). Empirical orthogonal function analysis is used to calibrate the high-resolution MS series with associated environmental series for the period of overlap (1973-92). Utilizing this calibration we present a ~500 year long proxy record of the polar expression of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and southeastern Pacific sea-ice extent variations. These records reveal short-term periods of increased (1800-50,1900-40) and decreased sea-ice extent (1550-1610, 1660-1710, 1760-1800). In general, increased (decreased) sea-ice extent is associated with a higher (lower) frequency of El Niño events.