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Indonesian Throughflow drove Australian climate from humid Pliocene to arid Pleistocene

Christensen, Beth A. and Renema, Willem and Henderiks, Jorijntje and De Vleeschouwer, David and Groeneveld, Jeroen and Castañeda, Isla S. and Reuning, Lars and Bogus, Kara and Auer, Gerald and Ishiwa, Takeshige and McHugh, Cecilia M. and Gallagher, Stephen J. and Fulthorpe, Craig S. and Gurnis, Michael (2017) Indonesian Throughflow drove Australian climate from humid Pliocene to arid Pleistocene. Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (13). pp. 6914-6925. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1002/2017GL072977.

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Late Miocene to mid-Pleistocene sedimentary proxy records reveal that northwest Australia underwent an abrupt transition from dry to humid climate conditions at 5.5 million years (Ma), likely receiving year-round rainfall, but after ~3.3 Ma, climate shifted toward an increasingly seasonal precipitation regime. The progressive constriction of the Indonesian Throughflow likely decreased continental humidity and transferred control of northwest Australian climate from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, leading to drier conditions punctuated by monsoonal precipitation. The northwest dust pathway and fully established seasonal and orbitally controlled precipitation were in place by ~2.4 Ma, well after the intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation. The transition from humid to arid conditions was driven by changes in Pacific and Indian Ocean circulation and regional atmospheric moisture transport, influenced by the emerging Maritime Continent. We conclude that the Maritime Continent is the switchboard modulating teleconnections between tropical and high-latitude climate systems.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Christensen, Beth A.0000-0003-4346-0851
Henderiks, Jorijntje0000-0001-9486-6275
De Vleeschouwer, David0000-0002-3323-807X
Groeneveld, Jeroen0000-0002-8382-8019
Castañeda, Isla S.0000-0002-2524-9326
Reuning, Lars0000-0002-3796-2874
Bogus, Kara0000-0003-4690-0576
Auer, Gerald0000-0002-2574-0027
Ishiwa, Takeshige0000-0002-7566-4421
McHugh, Cecilia M.0000-0002-6884-0458
Gallagher, Stephen J.0000-0002-5593-2740
Fulthorpe, Craig S.0000-0002-4414-2938
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Received 8 FEB 2017; Accepted 19 JUN 2017; Accepted article online 22 JUN 2017; Published online 7 JUL 2017. This research used samples and data provided by the International Ocean Discovery Program. We thank the JRSO staff and the SIEM Offshore crew for their invaluable assistance and skill during the Expedition. We gratefully acknowledge the drilling proposal proponents and B. Wygal and N. McGee for graphic assistance. All data generated during IODP Expedition 356 are publicly accessible via the IODP-JOIDES Resolution Science Operator website ( We acknowledge financial support by the United States Science Support Program (to B.C., I.S.C., K.B., C.M.M., and C.S.F., National Science Foundation prime award OCE-1450528), the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (to W.R.), the Swedish Research Council (VR grants 2011-4866 and 2016-04434 to J.H.), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Projects VL 96/1-1 to D.D.V. and GR 3528/3-1 to J.G.), and the Australian Research Council (award to S.J.G.). Author Contributions: B.C. coordinated the writing effort; W.R. and J.H. were the primary co-authors and drafted most figures. D.D.V., J.H. and J.G. developed the age model. I.C. generated SST data. L.R. generated XRD data. W.R., J.H., W.R., D.D.V., G.A., L.R., J.G., I.C., T.I., K.B., C.M.M., S.G., and C.F. contributed to discussions and edited drafts. All co-authors were participants on IODP Expedition 356 and participated in generating the data published herein and shipboard data analysis.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
United States Science Support ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Naturalis Biodiversity CenterUNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research Council2011-4866
Swedish Research Council2016-04434
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)VL 96/1-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)GR 3528/3-1
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:IODP; Australia; Continental climate; Maritime Continent; Indonesian Throughflow; Neogene
Issue or Number:13
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170623-081410729
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Christensen, B. A. et al (2017), Indonesian Throughflow drove Australian climate from humid Pliocene to arid Pleistocene, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL072977
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78479
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Jun 2017 23:59
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:40

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