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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 4 | Copyright
Clim. Past, 14, 559-575, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Apr 2018

Research article | 26 Apr 2018

Recent climate variations in Chile: constraints from borehole temperature profiles

Carolyne Pickler1, Edmundo Gurza Fausto2, Hugo Beltrami2,3, Jean-Claude Mareschal1, Francisco Suárez4,5,6, Arlette Chacon-Oecklers3, Nicole Blin4,5,6, Maria Teresa Cortés Calderón4,5,6, Alvaro Montenegro2,7, Rob Harris8, and Andres Tassara9 Carolyne Pickler et al.
  • 1GEOTOP, Centre de Recherche en Géochimie et en Géodynamique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
  • 2Climate & Atmospheric Sciences Institute and Department of Earth Sciences, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 3Centre pour l'étude et la simulation du climat à l'échelle régionale (ESCER), Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • 4Departamento de Ingeniería Hidráulica y Ambiental, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, RM, Chile
  • 5Centro de Desarrollo Urbano Sustenable (CEDEUS), Santiago, RM, Chile
  • 6Centro de Excelencia en Geotermia de los Andes (CEGA), Santiago, RM, Chile
  • 7Department of Geography, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  • 8CEOAS, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
  • 9Departamento Ciencias de la Tierra, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile

Abstract. We have compiled, collected, and analyzed 31 temperature–depth profiles from boreholes in the Atacama Desert in central and northern Chile. After screening these profiles, we found that only nine profiles at four different sites were suitable to invert for ground temperature history. For all the sites, no surface temperature variations could be resolved for the period 1500–1800. In the northern coastal region of Chile, there is no perceptible temperature variation at all from 1500 to present. In the northern central Chile region, between 26 and 28°S, the data suggest a cooling from  ≈ 1850 to  ≈ 1980 followed by a 1.9K warming starting  ≈ 20–40 years BP. This result is consistent with the ground surface temperature histories for Peru and the semiarid regions of South America. The duration of the cooling trend is poorly resolved and it may coincide with a marked short cooling interval in the 1960s that is found in meteorological records. The total warming is greater than that inferred from proxy climate reconstructions for central Chile and southern South America, and by the PMIP3-CMIP5 surface temperature simulations for the north-central Chile grid points. The differences among different climate reconstructions, meteorological records, and models are likely due to differences in spatial and temporal resolution among the various data sets and the models.

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Short summary
We compiled 31 temperature–depth profiles to reconstruct the ground surface temperature of the last 500 years in northern Chile. They suggest that the region experienced a cooling from 1850 to 1980 followed by a warming of 1.9 K. The cooling could coincide with a cooling interval in 1960. The warming is greater than that of proxy reconstructions for nearby regions and model simulations. These differences could be due to differences in spatial and temporal resolution between data and models.
We compiled 31 temperature–depth profiles to reconstruct the ground surface temperature of the...