Abrupt change in tropical Pacific climate mean state during the Little Ice Age

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Seddon, Alistair WR  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8266-0947
Meese, Bernd 
Willis, Katherine J 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThe mean state of the tropical Pacific ocean-atmosphere climate, in particular its east-west asymmetry, has profound consequences for regional climates and for the El Niño/Southern Oscillation variability. Here we present a new high-resolution paleohydrological record using the stable-hydrogen-isotopic composition of terrestrial-lipid biomarkers (δDjats:subwax</jats:sub>) from a 1,400-year-old lake sedimentary sequence from northern Philippines. Results show a dramatic and abrupt increase in δDjats:subwax</jats:sub> values around 1630 AD with sustained high values until around 1900 AD. We interpret this change as a shift to significantly drier conditions in the western tropical Pacific during the second half of the Little Ice Age as a result of a change in tropical Pacific mean state tied to zonal sea surface temperature (SST) gradients. Our findings highlight the prominent role of abrupt shifts in zonal SST gradients on multidecadal to multicentennial timescales in shaping the tropical Pacific hydrology of the last millennium, and demonstrate that a marked transition in the tropical Pacific mean state can occur within a period of a few decades.</jats:p>


Funder: Royal Geographical Society (RGS); doi: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000623

Funder: Quaternary Research Association (QRA); doi: https://doi.org/10.13039/100012089

Funder: Merton College, University of Oxford (Merton College Oxford); doi: https://doi.org/10.13039/100010352

Funder: University of Oxford (Oxford University); doi: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000769

3708 Oceanography, 3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 37 Earth Sciences, 3702 Climate Change Science, 3705 Geology, 13 Climate Action
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Communications Earth &amp; Environment
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC