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Science. 2005 Nov 11;310(5750):1009-12. Epub 2005 Oct 13.

The mid-Pleistocene transition in the tropical Pacific.

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  • 1Department of Earth Science, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9630, USA.


A sea surface temperature (SST) record based on planktonic foraminiferal magnesium/calcium ratios from a site in the western equatorial Pacific warm pool reveals that glacial-interglacial oscillations in SST shifted from a period of 41,000 to 100,000 years at the mid-Pleistocene transition, 950,000 years before the present. SST changes at both periodicities were synchronous with eastern Pacific cold-tongue SSTs but preceded changes in continental ice volume. The timing and nature of tropical Pacific SST changes over the mid-Pleistocene transition implicate a shift in the periodicity of radiative forcing by atmospheric carbon dioxide as the cause of the switch in climate periodicities at this time.

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