US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



The Holocene, pp. 1 –9. DOI: 10.1177/0959683616632886


U. S. government work.


Large-scale atmospheric pressure centers, such as the Aleutian and Icelandic Low, have a demonstrated relationship with physical lake characteristics in contemporary monitoring studies, but the responses to these phenomena are rarely observed in lake records. We observe coherent changes in the stratification patterns of three deep (>30 m) lakes inferred from fossil diatom assemblages as a response to shifts in the location and intensity of the Aleutian Low and compare these changes with similar long-term changes observed in the 18O record from the Yukon. Specifically, these records indicate that between 3.2 and 1.4 ka, the Aleutian Low shifted westward, resulting in an increased frequency of storm tracks across the Pacific Northwest during winter and spring. This change in atmospheric circulation ultimately produced deeper mixing in the upper waters of these three lake systems. Enhanced stratification between 4.5 and 3.3 ka and from 1.3 ka to present suggests a strengthened Aleutian Low and more meridional circulation.