Terrestrial (pollen) and marine climate proxies from seven sediment cores taken on the continental margin of western North America between 32 degrees and 43 degrees N show systematically related short-term changes superposed on Milankovitch-scale oscillations of the past 60 kyr. During oxygen isotope stage 3, brief warming events in California and Oregon appear correlative with interstadial events in waters offshore, as do the rapid climate oscillations of the last glacial transition (similar to 14 similar to 10 ka). Estimated temperature depression of the coastal lowlands ranges from >10 degrees C in southern California to similar to-5 degrees C in Oregon during the last glacial. The absence of long-distance migration of Pacific coastal plant assemblages concurs with marine evidence that southward movement of the polar front during the last glacial maximum was limited. Correlative changes in terrestrial and marine ecosystems imply that broad reorganizations of circulation in the northeast Pacific Ocean were synchronous with reorganizations of atmospheric circulation over western North America.
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