Instrumental data suggest that major shifts in tropical Pacific atmospheric dynamics and hydrology have occurred within the past century, potentially in response to anthropogenic warming. To better understand these trends, we use the hydrogen isotopic ratios of terrestrial higher plant leaf waxes (δDwax) in marine sediments from southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, to compile a detailed reconstruction of central Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP) hydrologic variability spanning most of the last two millennia. Our paleodata are highly correlated with a monsoon reconstruction from Southeast Asia, indicating that intervals of strong East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) activity are associated with a weaker Indonesian monsoon (IM). Furthermore, the centennial-scale oscillations in our data follow known changes in Northern Hemisphere climate (e.g., the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period) implying a dynamic link between Northern Hemisphere temperatures and IPWP hydrology. The inverse relationship between the EASM and IM suggests that migrations of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and associated changes in monsoon strength caused synoptic hydrologic shifts in the IPWP throughout most of the past two millennia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- compound-specific hydrogen isotopes
- tropical Pacific climate