Equatorial Pacific forcing of western Amazonian precipitation during Heinrich Stadial 1.

Zhang, Yancheng, Zhang, Xu, Chiessi, Cristiano M., Mulitza, Stefan, Zhang, Xiao, Lohmann, Gerrit, Prange, Matthias, Behling, Hermann, Zabel, Matthias, Govin, Aline, Sawakuchi, André O., Cruz, Francisco W. and Wefer, Gerold (2016) Equatorial Pacific forcing of western Amazonian precipitation during Heinrich Stadial 1. Open Access Scientific Reports, 6 (1). Art.Nr. 35866. DOI 10.1038/srep35866.

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Abstract

Abundant hydroclimatic evidence from western Amazonia and the adjacent Andes documents wet conditions during Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1, 18–15 ka), a cold period in the high latitudes of the North Atlantic. This precipitation anomaly was attributed to a strengthening of the South American summer monsoon due to a change in the Atlantic interhemispheric sea surface temperature (SST) gradient. However, the physical viability of this mechanism has never been rigorously tested. We address this issue by combining a thorough compilation of tropical South American paleorecords and a set of atmosphere model sensitivity experiments. Our results show that the Atlantic SST variations alone, although leading to dry conditions in northern South America and wet conditions in northeastern Brazil, cannot produce increased precipitation over western Amazonia and the adjacent Andes during HS1. Instead, an eastern equatorial Pacific SST increase (i.e., 0.5–1.5 °C), in response to the slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation during HS1, is crucial to generate the wet conditions in these regions. The mechanism works via anomalous low sea level pressure over the eastern equatorial Pacific, which promotes a regional easterly low-level wind anomaly and moisture recycling from central Amazonia towards the Andes.

Document Type: Article
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/srep35866
ISSN: 2045-2322
Projects: PalMod in-kind
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2018 09:52
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:06
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/44274

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