Insolation Cycles as a Major Control of Equatorial Indian Ocean Primary Production

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Science  21 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5342, pp. 1451-1454
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5342.1451

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Analysis of a continuous sedimentary record taken in the Maldives indicates that strong primary production fluctuations (70 to 390 grams of carbon per square meter per year) have occurred in the equatorial Indian Ocean during the past 910,000 years. The record of primary production is coherent and in phase with the February equatorial insolation, whereas it shows diverse phase behavior with δ18O, depending on the orbital frequency (eccentricity, obliquity, or precession) examined. These observations imply a direct control of productivity in the equatorial oceanic system by insolation. In the equatorial Indian Ocean, productivity is driven by the wind intensity of westerlies, which is related to the Southern Oscillation; therefore, it is suggested that a precession forcing on the Southern Oscillation is responsible for the observed paleoproductivity dynamics.

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