EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A model-based exploration of mid-Holocene anti-phase climate variations in the Central Andes

Ardhra Sedhu-Madhavan, Sebastian G. Mutz, Daniel Boateng, and Todd A. Ehlers
Ardhra Sedhu-Madhavan et al.
  • Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany

The Andes’ elevation of ~4 km and great meridional extent of ~50°S to 10°N greatly influences the spatial climate patterns across the South American continent. Apart from latitude and altitude, quasi-stable pressure systems modify the climate of the region. The Bolivian high, an upper-level anticyclonic circulation over the central part of the continent, is one such feature and has a strong impact on atmospheric moisture transport and the regional hydroclimate of the Central Andes. Orbitally forced shifts in the Bolivian High have been hypothesised to be responsible for anti-phase palaeoclimate changes in Peru in the mid-Holocene, such as the increase in humidity in the Palpa region and synchronous extreme drought near Lake Titicaca [e.g., Mächtle et al. 2013]. However, this hypothesis has not been tested, and it has not been determined how much of the mid-Holocene hydroclimate change in the Central Andes can be explained by changes in regional pressure systems. Here, we test the hypothesis that mid-Holocene orbital variations and palaeogeographical changes modified pressure fields and regional moisture transport, and lead to anti-phase changes in regional hydroclimate. We test this hypothesis using the physics-based, isotope-tracking climate model ECHAM5-wiso. More specifically, we analyse pre-industrial and mid-Holocene paleoclimate simulations [Mutz et al. 2018]  to track changes in pressure fields and moisture transport. We then assess their impacts on regional hydroclimate in the Central Andes. Results indicate that: (a) the climate models reproduce the observed synchronous anti-phase (wetter and drier) climate changes documented in different parts of Peru, and (b) these can be explained by changes in the regional pressure and wind fields. Taken together, previous proxy-based observations and model results present here indicate that orbital variations drive changes in the regional pressure systems and lead to spatially heterogenous variations in hydroclimate across the Central Andes.

How to cite: Sedhu-Madhavan, A., G. Mutz, S., Boateng, D., and A. Ehlers, T.: A model-based exploration of mid-Holocene anti-phase climate variations in the Central Andes, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2372,, 2023.