North Atlantic forcing of millennial-scale Indo-Australian monsoon dynamics during the Last Glacial period

R.F. Denniston, Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll, Y. Asmerom, V.J. Polyak, William Frank Humphreys, J. Cugley, D. Woods, Z. Lapointe, J. Peota, E. Greaves

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    112 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent studies of the Last Glacial period Indo-Australian summer monsoon (IASM) have revealed links to both northern and southern hemisphere high latitude climate as well as to regional ocean conditions. Particular interest has been paid to the monsoon response to Heinrich events, with variability explained by meridional shifts in positioning of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), but this model has not been adequately tested. In addition, the shorter-lived Dansgaard/Oeschger (D/O) events have not been detected (beyond D/O-1, the Bølling/Allerød) in land-based records from the Indo-Pacific, despite their prominent expression in stalagmites from southern Asia, raising questions about the sensitivity of the IASM to these events. Here we present a Southern Hemisphere stalagmite oxygen isotopic time series from Ball Gown Cave (BGC), tropical northern Australia, located on the margins of the modern austral summer ITCZ, that spans 40-31 and 27-8ka. Elevated IASM rainfall coincides with Heinrich stadials and the Younger Dryas, while decreased rainfall characterizes D/O interstadials, a response that is anti-phased with sites spanning the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool and with Chinese records of the East Asian summer monsoon. The BGC time series thus reveals a precipitation dipole consistent with a southward (northward) migration of the ITCZ during periods of high northern latitude cooling (warming) as the primary driver of millennial-scale IASM variability during the Last Glacial period. Our record indicates a strengthening of the IASM after the Younger Dryas period, likely as a result of rising sea level and sea surface temperatures, breaking the link with the high latitudes. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-168
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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