A 5.3‐million‐year history of monsoonal precipitation in northwestern Australia

Type Article
Date 2019-06
Language English
Author(s) Stuut Jan‐berend W.ORCID1, 2, 3, de Deckker PatrickORCID4, Saavedra‐pellitero Mariem5, Bassinot FranckORCID6, Drury Anna‐joyORCID2, Walczak Maureen H.ORCID4, Nagashima KanaORCID7, Murayama MasafumiORCID8
Affiliation(s) 1 : NIOZ – Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University Texel, the Netherlands
2 : MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental SciencesBremen University Bremen ,Germany
3 : Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of ScienceVrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 : ANU – Australian National UniversityResearch School of Earth Sciences Canberra ,Australia
5 : Department of GeosciencesBremen University Bremen,Germany
6 : LSCE ‐ Laboratoire des Sciences du Climate et de l’Environnement Gif‐sur‐Yvette ,France
7 : JAMSTEC – Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology Yokosuka, Japan
8 : Center for Advanced Marine Core ResearchKochi University Kochi,Japan
Source Geophysical Research Letters (0094-8276) (American Geophysical Union (AGU)), 2019-06 , Vol. 46 , N. 12 , P. 6946-6954
DOI 10.1029/2019GL083035
WOS© Times Cited 29
Keyword(s) paleoclimate, monsoon, Australia, runoff, Pliocene, Quaternary
Abstract

New proxy records from deep‐sea sediment cores from the northwestern continental margin of Western Australian reveal a 5.3 million‐year (Ma) history of aridity and tropical‐monsoon activity in northwestern Australia. Following the warm and dry early Pliocene (~5.3 Ma), the northwestern Australian continent experienced a gradual increase in humidity peaking at about 3.8 Ma with higher than present‐day rainfall. Between 3.8 and about 2.8 Ma, climate became progressively more arid with more rainfall variability. Coinciding with the onset of the northern hemisphere glaciations and the intensification of the northern hemisphere monsoon, aridity continued to increase overall from 2.8 Ma until today, with greater variance in precipitation and an increased frequency of large rainfall events. We associate the observed large‐scale fluctuations in Australian aridity with variations in Indian Ocean sea‐surface temperatures (SST), which largely control the monsoonal precipitation in northwestern Australia.

Key Points

Continental‐margin sediments off northwestern Australia record large continental‐aridity shifts at 5.3, 3.8, 2.8 and 1.4 Ma.

Grain size and chemistry of the terrigenous fraction of sea‐floor sediments and source areas on land allow a characterisation of river mud.

Monsoonal activity responds to changes in Indian‐Ocean SSTs and drives river run‐off in northwestern Australia.

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Publisher's official version 15 5 MB Open access
Supporting Information S1. 13 1 MB Open access
Supporting Information S2 202 KB Open access
Supporting Information S3 526 KB Open access
Supporting Information S4 256 KB Open access
Supporting Information S5 1011 KB Open access
Supporting Information S6 294 KB Open access
Supporting Information S7 131 KB Open access
Supporting Information S8 677 KB Open access
Supporting Information S9 610 KB Open access
Supporting Information S10 561 KB Open access
Supporting Information S11 467 KB Open access
Supporting Information S12 556 KB Open access
Supporting Information S13 236 KB Open access
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How to cite 

Stuut Jan‐berend W., de Deckker Patrick, Saavedra‐pellitero Mariem, Bassinot Franck, Drury Anna‐joy, Walczak Maureen H., Nagashima Kana, Murayama Masafumi (2019). A 5.3‐million‐year history of monsoonal precipitation in northwestern Australia. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(12), 6946-6954. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083035 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00502/61384/