Multidecadal climate oscillations detected in a transparency record from a subtropical Florida lake

Gaiser, Evelyn E., Nancy D. Deyrup, Roger W. Bachmann, Larry E. Battoe, Hilary M. Swain

Limnol. Oceanogr., 54(6), 2009, 2228-2232 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2009.54.6.2228

ABSTRACT: Synchronous interannual variability in water transparency observed in neighboring lakes has been linked to regional precipitation and resultant runoff of dissolved organic material, but many climate forcings oscillate over time scales longer than most limnological records can detect. A strong relationship (R2 5 0.86) between transparency and the previous two years’ rainfall and lake stage in a 25-yr record from a Florida lake enabled us to hindcast transparency from a longer 75-yr record of rainfall and lake stage. Predictions revealed a ~30-yr cycle in transparency linked to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Transparency was greatest (4-8 m) in the cool phase of the AMO (~1962-1993) associated with below-average rainfall in south Florida and lowest (0.1- 3.0 m) during two warm phases (~1932-1961, 1994-present) associated with above-average, but more variable, annual rainfall. Models that predict effects of large-scale hydrologic restoration projects on solute export from South Florida’s expansive wetlands need to account for recent entry into a warm AMO phase, where teleconnections between the AMO phases and runoff are opposite of those shown for the U.S. interior.

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