Salinity change in the subtropical Atlantic: Secular increase and teleconnections to the North Atlantic Oscillation

Brad E. Rosenheim, Peter K. Swart, Simon R. Thorrold, Anton Eisenhauer, Philippe Willenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Recent studies comparing shipboard data between the 1950's and the 1990's have shown significant, heterogeneous adjustments of the temperature-salinity structure of the N. Atlantic Ocean. Here, we present proxy records of temperature and salinity from aragonite sclerosponge skeletons, extending existing records of the Salinity Maximum Waters (SMW) of the N. Atlantic back to 1890. These proxy records show secular temperature increases of 1.6-2.0°C, higher than published global averages, and salinity increases of 0.35-0.5 psu, smaller than short-term secular trends recently measured. Salinity reconstructions vary more significantly on the decadal scale, showing changes that are related to low-frequency variations of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). On both secular and decadal time scales, the records indicate significant thermohaline changes in the SMW, either via forcing at the surface or increasing depths of density surfaces in the Bahamas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 28 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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