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Evolution of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Through Plio-Pleistocene Glaciation

Figure 1. Paleoclimatic proxies from ODP Site 846.
Figure 1. Paleoclimatic proxies from ODP Site 846.
Evolution of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Through Plio-Pleistocene Glaciation
Vol. 312, pp. 79-83, 7 April 2006.

Kira T. Lawrence, Zhonghui Liu, Timothy D. Herbert

Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Box 1846, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

A tropical Pacific climate state resembling that of a permanent El Nino is hypothesized to have ended as a result of a reorganization of the ocean heat budget ~3 million years ago, a time when large ice sheets appeared in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. We report a high resolution alkenone reconstruction of conditions in the heart of the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) cold tongue that reflects the combined influences of changes in the equatorial thermocline, the properties of the thermocline's source waters, atmospheric greenhouse gas content, and orbital variations on sea surface temperature (SST) and biological productivity over the past 5 million years. Our data indicate that the intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation ~3 million years ago did not interrupt an almost monotonic cooling of the EEP during the Plio-Pleistocene. SST and productivity in the eastern tropical Pacific varied in phase with global ice volume changes at a dominant 41,000-year (obliquity) frequency throughout this time. Changes in the Southern Hemisphere most likely modulated most of the changes observed.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
Eastern Equatorial Pacific 5MMYr Alkenone SST Reconstruction in Text or Microsoft Excel format.

To read or view the full study, please visit the Science website.
It was published in Science, Vol. 312, pp. 79-83, 7 April 2006.
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