100-kyr paced climate change in the Pliocene warm period, Southwest Pacific

Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
By: , and 

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Abstract

The mid to late Pliocene (~4.2-2.8 Ma.) represents an experiment in climate sensitivity to orbital pacing in which nearly all continental ice was confined to the Southern Hemisphere. Most studies have emphasized the dominant role of obliquity in determining changes in ice volume and temperature at this time, although most records come from the Northern Hemisphere, instead of the hemisphere where the bulk of ice volume resided. We present the first orbitally-resolved, mid to late Pliocene Southern Hemisphere paired records of surface and subsurface variability from two deep ocean archives from the Southwest Pacific Ocean. These records indicate dominance of low frequencies centered at ~100 kyr for this time period. Because these signatures extend coherently and synchronously from mid-depth water properties (δ13C, δ18O of benthic foraminifera), which have their chemistry set in the subantarctic belt, to the surface (alkenone-derived SST estimates), we infer the fingerprint of the ~ 100 kyr cycles must have extended over a large region of the Southern Hemisphere. We propose that nonlinearities in climate response to precessional forcing- most likely through ice sheet and/or carbon cycle behavior- generated the observed low frequency behavior. A review of previously published mid to late Pliocene time series suggests that the ~100 kyr pacing may be a global phenomenon and that major circa-100 kyr excursions in Pliocene climate were an important overlay to the underlying 41 kyr glacial-interglacial rhythm. These results caution against using existing Pliocene isotopic templates as a ways to assessing stratigraphy or developing a time scale.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title 100-kyr paced climate change in the Pliocene warm period, Southwest Pacific
Series title Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
DOI 10.1029/2018PA003496
Volume 34
Issue 4
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description 22 p.
First page 524
Last page 525
Other Geospatial Southwest Pacific