Rapid precipitation changes in the tropical West Pacific linked to North Atlantic climate forcing during the last deglaciation

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd The cause of rapid hydrological changes in the tropical West Pacific during the last deglaciation remains controversial. In order to test whether these changes were triggered by abrupt climate change events in the North Atlantic Ocean, variations in precipitation during the last deglaciation (18–10 ka) were extracted from proxy records of chemical weathering and terrigenous input in the western Philippine Sea (WPS). The evolution of chemical weathering and terrigenous input since 27 ka was reconstructed using the chemical index of alteration (CIA), elemental ratios (K/Al, TOC/TN and Ti/Ca), δ13Corg, terrigenous fraction abundance and flux data from International Marine Global Change Study Program (IMAGES) core MD06-3054 collected on the upper continental slope of eastern Luzon (northern Philippines). Sediment deposited during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) shows weathering equal to or slightly greater than Holocene sediment in the WPS. This unusual state of chemical weathering, which is inconsistent with lower air temperatures and decreased precipitation in Luzon during the LGM, may be due to reworking of poorly consolidated sediments on the eastern Luzon continental shelf during the LGM sea-level lowstand. Rapid changes in chemical weathering, characterized by higher intensity during the Heinrich event 1 (H1) and Younger Dryas (YD) and lower intensity during the Bølling-Allerød (B/A), were linked to rapid variations in precipitation in the WPS during the last deglaciation. The higher terrigenous inputs during the LGM relative to those of the Holocene were controlled by sea-level changes rather than precipitation. The terrigenous inputs show a long-term decline during the last deglaciation, punctuated by brief spikes during the H1 and YD related to sea-level rises and rapid precipitation changes in the WPS, respectively. The proxy records of chemical weathering and terrigenous input from eastern Luzon suggest high rainfall during the H1 and YD events, consistent with inferred rainfall patterns based on Fe/Ca records from offshore Mindanao. Rapid precipitation changes in the WPS did not coincide with migrations of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) but, rather, were related to state shifts of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) during the last deglaciation. Based on proxy records and modeling results, we argue that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) controlled rapid precipitation changes in the tropical West Pacific through zonal shifts of ENSO or meridional migration of the ITCZ during the last deglaciation. Our findings highlight the dominant role of the North Atlantic Ocean in the tropical hydrologic cycle during the last deglaciation.

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Quaternary Science Reviews

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