Rapid Changes in the Hydrologic Cycle of the Tropical Atlantic During the Last Glacial

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Science  08 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5498, pp. 1947-1951
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5498.1947

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Sedimentary time series of color reflectance and major element chemistry from the anoxic Cariaco Basin off the coast of northern Venezuela record large and abrupt shifts in the hydrologic cycle of the tropical Atlantic during the past 90,000 years. Marine productivity maxima and increased precipitation and riverine discharge from northern South America are closely linked to interstadial (warm) climate events of marine isotope stage 3, as recorded in Greenland ice cores. Increased precipitation at this latitude during interstadials suggests the potential for greater moisture export from the Atlantic to Pacific, which could have affected the salinity balance of the Atlantic and increased thermohaline heat transport to high northern latitudes. This supports the notion that tropical feedbacks played an important role in modulating global climate during the last glacial period.

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