Rainfall variations in central Indo-Pacific over the past 2,700 y

Liangcheng Tan, Chuan-Chou Shen, Ludvig Löwemark, Sakonvan Chawchai, R. Lawrence Edwards, Yanjun Cai, Sebastian Breitenbach, Hai Cheng, Yu-Chen Chou, Helmut Duerrast, Judson W. Partin, Wenju Cai, Akkaneewut Chabangborn, Yongli Gao, Ola Kwiecien, Chung-Che Wu, Zhengguo Shi, Huang-Hsiung Hsu, Barbara Wohlfarth

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Tropical rainfall variability is closely linked to meridional shifts of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and zonal movements of the Walker circulation. The characteristics and mechanisms of tropical rainfall variations on centennial to decadal scales are, however, still unclear. Here, we reconstruct a replicated stalagmite-based
2,700-y-long, continuous record of rainfall for the deeply convective northern central Indo-Pacific (NCIP) region. Our record reveals decreasing rainfall in the NCIP over the past 2,700 y, similar to other records from the northern tropics. Notable centennial- to decadal-scale dry climate episodes occurred in both the NCIP and the southern central Indo-Pacific (SCIP) during the 20th century [Current Warm Period (CWP)] and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), resembling enhanced El Niño-like conditions. Further, we developed a 2,000-y-long ITCZ shift index record that supports an
overall southward ITCZ shift in the central Indo-Pacific and indicates southward mean ITCZ positions during the earlyMWP and the CWP. As a result, the drying trend since the 20th century in the northern tropics is similar to that observed during the past warm period, suggesting that a possible anthropogenic forcing of rainfall remains
indistinguishable from natural variability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17201-17206
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
Early online date12 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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