Interannual Southern California Precipitation Variability During the Common Era and the ENSO Teleconnection

Xiaojing Du, Ingrid Hendy, Linda Hinnov, Erik Brown, Arndt Schimmelmann, Dorothy Pak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Southern California's Mediterranean-type hydroclimate is highly variable on interannual time scales due to teleconnected climate forcings such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Here we present subannually resolved scanning X-ray fluorescence Ti counts from deep-sea cores in Santa Barbara Basin, California, recording 2,000 years of hydroclimate variability. The reconstructed Southern California precipitation record contains interannual variability in the 2- to 7-year band that could be driven by changes in tropical Pacific ENSO variability and/or the strength of the ENSO teleconnection modulated by extratropical pressure systems. Observed interannual precipitation variance increased and was associated with longer periodicities (5–7 years) when the Intertropical Convergence Zone migrated southward (1370–1540 CE) and the Aleutian Low strengthened creating a robust ENSO teleconnection. Weak interannual precipitation variance with shorter periodicity (2–3 years) was observed when the Intertropical Convergence Zone shifted northward (700–900 CE) and/or the Aleutian Low was weak (1540–1680 CE).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019GL085891
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the National Science Foundation OCE‐0752093 and OCE‐1304327 (I. H.) 1542697 and 1303605 (L. H.), 1304148 (E. B.), OCE‐0752068 (A. S.), and OCE‐0751803 to D. K. P.

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • ENSO teleconnection
  • Southern California
  • interannual precipitation
  • last 2,000 years
  • varves


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