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Subpolar Link to the Emergence of the Modern Equatorial Pacific Cold Tongue

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Antoni Rosell-Mele, Dr Erin McClymont


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The cold upwelling "tongue" of the eastern equatorial Pacific is a central energetic feature of the ocean, dominating both the mean state and temporal variability of climate in the tropics and beyond. Recent evidence for the development of the modern cold tongue during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition has been explained as the result of extratropical cooling that drove a shoaling of the thermocline. We have found that the sub-Antarctic and sub-Arctic regions underwent substantial cooling nearly synchronous to the cold tongue development, thereby providing support for this hypothesis. In addition, we show that sub-Antarctic climate changed in its response to Earth’s orbital variations, from a subtropical to a subpolar pattern, as expected if cooling shrank the warm-water sphere of the ocean and thus contracted the subtropical gyres.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Martinez-Garcia A, Rosell-Mele A, McClymont EL, Gersonde R, Haug GH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science

Year: 2010

Volume: 328

Issue: 5985

Pages: 1550-1553

Print publication date: 18/06/2010

ISSN (print): 0036-8075

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9203

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science


DOI: 10.1126/science.1184480


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