US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Quaternary Research 59 (2003) 151–159; doi:10.1016/S0033-5894(03)00007-3


Mono Lake sediments have recorded five major oscillations in the hydrologic balance between A.D. 1700 and 1941. These oscillations can be correlated with tree-ring-based oscillations in Sierra Nevada snowpack. Comparison of a tree-ring-based reconstruction of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index (D’Arrigo et al., 2001) with a coral-based reconstruction of Subtropical South Pacific sea-surface temperature (Linsley et al., 2000) indicates a high degree of correlation between the two records during the past 300 yr. This suggests that the PDO has been a pan-Pacific phenomena for at least the past few hundred years. Major oscillations in the hydrologic balance of the Sierra Nevada correspond to changes in the sign of the PDO with extreme droughts occurring during PDO maxima. Four droughts centered on A.D. 1710, 1770, 1850, and 1930 indicate PDO-related drought reoccurrence intervals ranging from 60 to 80 yr.