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Title: Reconstructing Pliocene West Pacific Warm Pool Hydroclimate Using In Situ Microanalyses on Fossil Planktic Foraminifer Shells

A controversial aspect of Pliocene (5.3–2.6 Ma) climate is whether El Niño‐like (El Padre) conditions, characterized by a reduced trans‐equatorial sea‐surface temperature (SST) gradient, prevailed across the Pacific. Evidence for El Padre is chiefly based on reconstructions of sea‐surface conditions derived from the oxygen isotope (δ18O) and Mg/Ca compositions of shells belonging to the planktic foraminiferTrilobatus sacculifer. However, fossil shells of this species are a mixture of multiple carbonate phases—pre‐gametogenic, gametogenic (reproductive), and diagenetic calcites—that formed under different physiological and/or environmental conditions and are averaged in conventional whole‐shell analyses. Through in situ measurements of micrometer‐scale domains within Pliocene‐aged shells ofT. sacculiferfrom Ocean Drilling Program Site 806 in the western equatorial Pacific, we show that the δ18O of gametogenic calcite is 0.6–0.8‰ higher than pre‐gametogenic calcite, while the Mg/Ca ratios of these two phases are the same. Both the whole‐shell and pre‐gametogenic Mg/Ca records indicate that average early Pliocene SSTs were ~1°C warmer than modern, with present‐day SSTs being established during the latest Pliocene and early Pleistocene (~3.0–2.0 Ma). The measurement of multiple calcite phases by whole‐shell δ18O analyses masks a late Pliocene to earliest Pleistocene (3.6–2.2 Ma) decrease in seawater δ18O (δ18Osw) values reconstructed from in situ pre‐gametogenic δ18O and Mg/Ca measurements. Our novel δ18Oswrecord indicates that sea‐surface salinities in the west Pacific warm pool were higher than modern prior to ~3.5 Ma, which is consistent with more arid conditions under an El Padre state.

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Award ID(s):
1658823 2004618
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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