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Persistent link between Caribbean precipitation and Atlantic Ocean circulation during the Last Glacial revealed by a speleothem record from Puerto Rico
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  • Sophie Warken,
  • Rolf Vieten,
  • Amos Winter,
  • Christoph Spötl,
  • Thomas Miller,
  • Klaus Peter Jochum,
  • Andrea Schröder-Ritzrau,
  • Augusto Mangini,
  • Denis Scholz
Sophie Warken
Heidelberg University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Rolf Vieten
Department of Marine Science, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
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Amos Winter
Department of Earth and Environmental Systems, Indiana State University
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Christoph Spötl
Institute of Geology
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Thomas Miller
Department of Geology
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Klaus Peter Jochum
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
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Andrea Schröder-Ritzrau
Institute of Environmental Physics, Heidelberg University
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Augusto Mangini
Heidelberg University
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Denis Scholz
Institute for Geosciences
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The high sensitivity of tropical hydro-climate to the mean position of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) at different time scales is well known. However, recent research suggests a more complex behaviour of the northern hemispheric tropical rain belts in the western tropical Atlantic. Here we present a precisely dated speleothem multi-proxy record from a well-monitored cave from Puerto Rico, covering the period between 46.2 and 15.4 ka BP in unprecedented resolution. This allows the investigation of multi-decadal to millennial-scale climate variability. The proxy records document a pronounced response of regional rainfall to abrupt centennial to millennial-scale climatic excursions in the North Atlantic across the Last Glacial (i.e., Heinrich Stadials and Dansgaard/Oeschger events). In particular, we observe a strong agreement between the speleothem proxy data and the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, supporting a persistent link of regional precipitation to oceanic forcing. Spectral analysis suggests that multi-decadal to centennial variability persisted in the regional hydro-climate not only during stadial and interstadial conditions, but also during the Last Glacial Maximum, supporting the hypothesis that the Atlantic low-latitude regions respond to internal modes of climate variability on these time scales regardless of the global climate state. The compilation with other paleo-precipitation records enables the reconstruction of past changes in position, strength and extent of the ITCZ in the western tropical Atlantic in response to millennial and orbital global climate change.
Nov 2020Published in Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology volume 35 issue 11. 10.1029/2020PA003944