Sea surface temperature pattern reconstructions in the Arabian Sea

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Dahl, Kristina A.
Oppo, Delia W.
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Arabian Sea
Indian monsoon
Sea surface temperature (SST) and seawater δ18O (δ18Ow) were reconstructed in a suite of sediment cores from throughout the Arabian Sea for four distinct time intervals (0 ka, 8 ka, 15 ka, and 20 ka) with the aim of understanding the history of the Indian Monsoon and the climate of the Arabian Sea region. This was accomplished through the use of paired Mg/Ca and δ18O measurements of the planktonic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber. By analyzing basin-wide changes and changes in cross-basinal gradients, we assess both monsoonal and regional-scale climate changes. SST was colder than present for the majority of sites within all three paleotime slices. Furthermore, both the Indian Monsoon and the regional Arabian Sea mean climate have varied substantially over the past 20 kyr. The 20 ka and 15 ka time slices exhibit average negative temperature anomalies of 2.5°–3.5°C attributable, in part, to the influences of glacial atmospheric CO2 concentrations and large continental ice sheets. The elimination of the cross-basinal SST gradient during these two time slices likely reflects a decrease in summer monsoon and an increase in winter monsoon strength. Changes in δ18Ow that are smaller than the δ18O signal due to global ice volume reflect decreased evaporation and increased winter monsoon mixing. SSTs throughout the Arabian Sea were still cooler than present by an average of 1.4°C in the 8 ka time slice. These cool SSTs, along with lower δ18Ow throughout the basin, are attributed to stronger than modern summer and winter monsoons and increased runoff and precipitation. The results of this study underscore the importance of taking a spatial approach to the reconstruction of processes such as monsoon upwelling.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Paleoceanography 21 (2006): PA1014, doi:10.1029/2005PA001162.
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Paleoceanography 21 (2006): PA1014
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