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Nature. 2002 Nov 28;420(6914):401-3.

Climate change in the North Pacific region over the past three centuries.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A7, Canada.


The relatively short length of most instrumental climate records restricts the study of climate variability, and it is therefore essential to extend the record into the past with the help of proxy data. Only since the late 1940s have atmospheric data been available that are sufficient in quality and spatial resolution to identify the dominant patterns of climate variability, such as the Pacific North America pattern and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Here we present a 301-year snow accumulation record from an ice core at a height of 5,340 m above sea level-from Mount Logan, in northwestern North America. This record shows features that are closely linked with the Pacific North America pattern for the period of instrumental data availability. Our record extends back in time to cover the period from the closing stages of the Little Ice Age to the warmest decade in the past millennium. We find a positive, accelerating trend in snow accumulation after the middle of the nineteenth century. This trend is paralleled by a warming over northwestern North America which has been associated with secular changes in both the Pacific North America pattern and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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