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Holocene evolution of the Indonesian throughflow and the western Pacific warm pool


Fig. 1b. WPWP SSS map
Fig. 1b. Sea surface salinity during the boreal winter (northwest monsoon) (January-March)
Holocene evolution of the Indonesian throughflow and the western Pacific warm pool

Nature Geoscience
Vol. 3, pp. 578-583, August 2010.
DOI: 10.1038/NGEO920

Braddock K. Linsley1, Yair Rosenthal2, and Delia W. Oppo3
1 Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany-State University of New York, Albany, New York 12222, USA
2 Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers, The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA
3 Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
ABSTRACT:
High sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific warm pool fuel atmospheric convection and influence tropical climate. This region also hosts the Indonesian throughflow, the network of currents through which surface and thermocline waters are transported from the western equatorial Pacific Ocean into the Indian Ocean. Here we show, using records of the d18O and Mg/Ca of planktonic foraminifera from eight sediment cores, that from about 10,000 to 7,000 years ago, sea surface temperatures in the western sector of the western Pacific warm pool were about 0.5°C higher than during pre-industrial times. We also find that about 9,500 years ago, when the South China and Indonesian seas were connected by rising sea level, surface waters in the Makassar Strait became relatively fresher. We suggest that the permanent reduction of surface salinity initiated the enhanced flow at lower, thermocline depths seen in the modern Indonesian throughflow. However, the uniformly warm sea surface temperatures found upstream and downstream of the Indonesian throughflow indicate that the early Holocene warmth in this region was not directly related to reduced heat transport by the throughflow that may have resulted from surface freshening of the Makassar Strait. Instead, we propose that the elevated temperatures were the result of a westward shift or expansion of the boundaries of the western Pacific warm pool.
Download data from the WDC Paleo archive:
Makassar Strait 14KYr Foraminiferal Mg/Ca SST, Text or Excel

To read or view the full study, please visit the Nature Geoscience website.
It was published in Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, pp. 578-583, August 2010. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO920
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