Evidence of wet-dry cycles and mega-droughts in the Eemian climate of southeast Australia

Hamish McGowan, Micheline Campbell, John Nikolaus Callow, Andrew Lowry, Henri Wong

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Understanding past climate variability is critical to informing debate of likely impacts of global warming on weather and climate, and water resources. Here we present a near annual resolution reconstruction of climate developed from a speleothem that spans the Eemian [Marine Isotope Stage 5e (MIS 5e)] from 117,500 to 123,500 years BP—the most recent period in the Earth’s history when temperatures were similar to those of today. Using 25 Mg, 88Sr, and 137Ba as proxies, we show the first indication of solar and teleconnection cyclic forcing of Eemian climate in southeast Australia, a region at present often affected by severe drought and bushfires. We find evidence for multi-centennial dry periods interpreted as mega-droughts, and highlight the importance of understanding the causes of these in the context of a rapidly warming world, where temperatures are now, or projected to exceed those of the Eemian.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18000
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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