The sensitivity of the Australian Monsoon to changing climate boundary conditions remains controversial due to limited understanding of forcing processes and past variability. Here, we reconstruct austral summer monsoonal discharge and wind-driven winter productivity across the Middle Pleistocene Transition (MPT) in a sediment sequence drilled off NW Australia. We show that monsoonal precipitation and runoff primarily responded to precessional insolation forcing until ~0.95 Ma, but exhibited heightened sensitivity to ice volume and pCO2 related feedbacks following intensification of glacial-interglacial cycles. Our records further suggest that summer monsoon variability at the precessional band was closely tied to the thermal evolution of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool and strength of the Walker circulation over the past ~1.6 Myr. By contrast, productivity proxy records consistently tracked glacial-interglacial variability, reflecting changing rhythms in polar ice fluctuations and Hadley circulation strength. We conclude that the Australian Monsoon underwent a major re-organization across the MPT and that extratropical feedbacks were instrumental in driving short- and long-term variability.
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Li Gong, Ann Holbourn, Wolfgang Kuhnt, Bradley Opdyke, Yan Zhang, Ana Christina Ravelo, Peng Zhang, Jian Xu, Kenji Matsuzaki, Ivano Aiello, Sebastian Beil, and Nils Andersen. "Middle Pleistocene re-organization of Australian Monsoon" Nature Communications (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-37639-x