skip to main content


Title: Central Equatorial Pacific Cooling During the Last Glacial Maximum
Abstract

Establishing tropical sea surface temperature (SST) during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) is important for constraining equilibrium climate sensitivity to radiative forcing. Until now, there has been little data from the central equatorial Pacific in global compilations, with foraminiferal assemblage‐based estimates suggesting the region was within 1°C of modern temperatures during the LGM. This is in stark contrast to multi‐proxy evidence from the eastern and western Pacific and model simulations which support larger cooling. Here we present the first estimates of glacial SST in the central equatorial Pacific from Mg/Ca inGlobigerinoides ruber. Our results show that the central Pacific cooled by about 2.0°C during the LGM, in contrast with previous global compilations but in agreement with models. Our data support a larger magnitude of tropical LGM cooling, and thus a larger equilibrium climate sensitivity, than previous studies which relied on foraminiferal assemblages in the central tropical Pacific.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10442878
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume:
48
Issue:
3
ISSN:
0094-8276
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Dual proxies were used to estimate paleo sea surface temperatures (SST) for the Bay of Plenty, north of New Zealand.and Mg/Ca in the planktonic foraminiferaGlobogerina bulloidesreconstruct SST for the growth seasons for the organisms they are based upon.SST (summer) were consistently ~ 3.5 °C warmer than Mg/Ca (spring), suggesting that Bay of Plenty SST during the last glacial maximum (LGM) was 17.3 °C in summer and 13.8 °C in spring. Combining these results with published data based on the same proxies from other sites around New Zealand shows cooling of 3–4 °C in both seasons at all sites in the LGM relative to the Holocene. This indicates that overall, glacial surface water cooling was similar in subtropical and subpolar waters in both spring and summer. This contrasts with published foraminiferal assemblage reconstructions suggesting greater subantarctic cooling during the LGM. Deglacial warming across the region was characterized by changes in both seasonal and latitudinal temperature differences. Warming began in subtropical waters at ~21 ka, ~ 1.5 ka earlier than in subantarctic water. In the Bay of Plenty, the seasons maintained a consistent offset, while in Hawke Bay, springs stayed cold while summers warmed until after the Antarctic Cold Reversal. In contrast, subantarctic spring SST warmed rapidly, causing temperature differences to decrease between the Chatham Rise (subantarctic) and subtropical sites, possibly caused by shifting westerly winds. The use of multiple proxies enhances our understanding by adding a seasonal component to the glacial story of climate change in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

     
    more » « less
  2. Over the late Holocene, a variety of hydroclimate-sensitive proxies have identified substantial, multidecadal changes in Indian summer monsoon (ISM) precipitation, the most prominent of which is the “4.2 ka event”. This interval, dated to ~4.2-3.9 ka, is associated with severe droughts across South Asia that are linked to societal change. Given the absence of the 4.2 ka event in polar records, the 4.2 ka event is generally associated with low latitude forcings, but no clear consensus on its origins has been reached. We investigated the ISM response to the 4.2 ka event through analysis of aragonite stalagmites from Siddha cave, formed in the lower Paleozoic Dhading dolomite in the Pokhara Valley of central Nepal (28.0˚N, 84.1˚E; ~850 m.a.s.l.). The climate of this region is dominated by small monthly variations in air temperature (21±5˚C) but strong precipitation seasonality associated with the ISM: ~80% of the annual 3900 mm of rainfall occurs between June and September. High uranium and low detrital thorium abundances in these stalagmites yield precise U/Th ages that all fall within stratigraphic order. These dates reveal continuous growth from 4.30-2.26 ka, interrupted only by a hiatus from 3.27-3.10 ka. Overlap with coeval aragonite stalagmites reveals generally consistent trends in carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, suggesting that these stalagmites reflect environmental variability and not secondary (e.g., kinetic) effects. Many stalagmite-based paleomonsoon reconstructions rely on oxygen isotope ratios, which track amount effects in regional rainfall. However, our on-going rainwater collection and analysis program, as well as a previous study conducted in Kathmandu, 120 km the east of Siddha cave, reveals that amount effects in precipitation are weak in this region, particularly during the monsoon season, and thus we rely instead on carbon isotope ratios, which have been demonstrated to track site-specific effective precipitation. Siddha cave stalagmite carbon isotopes, in contrast to other South Asian proxy records, indicate that ISM rainfall increased at Siddha cave from 4.13-3.91 ka. As a further test of this result, we analyzed uranium abundances in the section spanning 4.3-3.4 ka. Uranium serves as an indicator of prior aragonite precipitation and thus of hydroclimate, and like carbon isotopes, suggests increased ISM rainfall coincident with the 4.2 ka event. This precipitation anomaly is nearly identical in timing and structure but anti-phased with stalagmites from Mawmluh cave, northeastern India. We investigated the climatic origins of this precipitation dipole using observational data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) and Hadley Center Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature (HadISST) products. Preliminary spatial composites suggest that large precipitation differences between Mawmluh and Siddha caves are associated with SST anomalies in the equatorial Pacific. Additionally, superposed Epoch Analysis shows relatively rapid eastern Indian Ocean cooling during the summer monsoon season coeval with large precipitation differences between these sites. Our findings lend support to a tropical Indo-Pacific origin of the 4.2 ka event. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The Western Equatorial Pacific (WEP) warm pool, with surface temperatures >28 °C and a deep thermocline, is an important source of latent and sensible heat for the global climate system. Because the tropics are not sensitive to ice‐albedo feedbacks, the WEP's response to radiative forcing can be used to constrain a minimum estimate of Earth system sensitivity. Climate modeling ofpCO2‐radiative warming projections shows little change in WEP variability; here we use temperature distributions of individual surface and subsurface dwelling fossil foraminifera to evaluate past variability and possible radiative and dynamic climate forcing over the Plio‐Pleistocene. We investigate WEP warm pool variability within paired glacial‐interglacial (G‐IG) intervals for four times: the Holocene‐Last Glacial Maximum, ~2, ~3, and ~4 Ma. Our results show that these surface and subsurface temperature distributions are similar for all G‐IG pairs, indicating no change in variability, even aspCO2‐radiative forcing and other boundary conditions changed on G‐IG timescales. Plio‐Pleistocene sea surface temperature (SST) distributions are similar to those from the Holocene, indicating WEP SSTs respond topCO2‐radiative forcing and associated feedbacks. In contrast, Plio‐Pleistocene subsurface temperature distributions suggest subsurface temperatures respond to changes in thermocline temperature and depth. We estimate tropical temperature sensitivity for the mid‐Pliocene (~3 Ma) using our individual foraminifera SST data set and a previously published high‐resolution boron isotope‐basedpCO2reconstruction. We find tropical temperature sensitivity was equal to, or less than, that of the Late Pleistocene.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Southern Ocean sea ice plays a central role in the oceanic meridional overturning circulation, transforming globally prevalent watermasses through surface buoyancy loss and gain. Buoyancy loss due to surface cooling and sea ice growth promotes the formation of bottom water that flows into the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific basins, while buoyancy gain due to sea ice melt helps transform the returning deep flow into intermediate and mode waters. Because northward expansion of Southern Ocean sea ice during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 19–23 kyr BP) may have enhanced deep ocean stratification and contributed to lower atmospheric CO2levels, reconstructions of sea ice extent are critical to understanding the LGM climate state. Here, we present a new sea ice proxy based on the18O/16O ratio of foraminifera (δ18Oc). In the seasonal sea ice zone, sea ice formation during austral winter creates a cold surface mixed layer that persists in the sub‐surface during spring and summer. The cold sub‐surface layer, known as winter water, sits above relatively warm deep water, creating an inverted temperature profile. The unique surface‐to‐deep temperature contrast is reflected in estimates of equilibrium δ18Oc, implying that paired analysis of planktonic and benthic foraminifera can be used to infer sea ice extent. To demonstrate the feasibility of the δ18Ocmethod, we present a compilation ofN. pachydermaandCibicidoidesspp. results from the Atlantic sector that yields an estimate of winter sea ice extent consistent with modern observations.

     
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) has been directly estimated using reconstructions of past climates that are different than today's. A challenge to this approach is that temperature proxies integrate over the timescales of the fast feedback processes (e.g., changes in water vapor, snow, and clouds) that are captured in ECS as well as the slower feedback processes (e.g., changes in ice sheets and ocean circulation) that are not. A way around this issue is to treat the slow feedbacks as climate forcings and independently account for their impact on global temperature. Here we conduct a suite of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) simulations using the Community Earth System Model version 1.2 (CESM1.2) to quantify the forcingand efficacy of land ice sheets (LISs) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) in order to estimate ECS. Our forcing and efficacy quantification adopts the effective radiative forcing (ERF) and adjustment framework and provides a complete accounting for the radiative, topographic, and dynamical impacts of LIS on surface temperatures. ERF and efficacy of LGM LIS are −3.2 W m−2 and 1.1, respectively. The larger-than-unity efficacy is caused by the temperature changes over land and the Northern Hemisphere subtropical oceans which are relatively larger than those in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. The subtropical sea-surface temperature (SST) response is linked to LIS-induced wind changes and feedbacks in ocean–atmosphere coupling and clouds. ERF and efficacy of LGM GHG are −2.8 W m−2 and 0.9, respectively. The lower efficacy is primarily attributed to a smaller cloud feedback at colder temperatures. Our simulations further demonstrate that the direct ECS calculation using the forcing, efficacy, and temperature response in CESM1.2 overestimates the true value in the model by approximately 25 % due to the neglect of slow ocean dynamical feedback. This is supported by the greater cooling (6.8 ∘C) in a fully coupled LGM simulation than that (5.3 ∘C) in a slab ocean model simulation with ocean dynamics disabled. The majority (67 %) of the ocean dynamical feedback is attributed to dynamical changes in the Southern Ocean, where interactions between upper-ocean stratification, heat transport, and sea-ice cover are found to amplify the LGM cooling. Our study demonstrates the value of climate models in the quantification of climate forcings and the ocean dynamical feedback, which is necessary for an accurate direct ECS estimation. 
    more » « less