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The mean state and variability of the tropical Pacific is influenced by the depth of the thermocline. To understand the thermocline depth's role in determining the Last Glacial Maximum tropical mean state, we reconstruct the upper ocean δ18O profile from multiple species of planktic foraminifera. We synthesize existing records of surface and subsurface dwelling foraminifera to reconstruct the vertical δ18O gradient throughout the eastern equatorial Pacific. We find the thermocline was deeper during the Last Glacial Maximum than the Holocene throughout the eastern equatorial Pacific region. The thermocline depth's role in the dynamic forcing of the cold tongue contributed to the reduced zonal SST gradient across the equatorial Pacific, decreased productivity, and presumably impacted El Niño‐Southern Oscillation variability relative to the Holocene.

The equatorial Pacific thermocline is a critical component in determining the ocean-atmosphere interactions of the tropics. During the Pliocene warm period, the tropical thermocline was warm and/or deep and shoaled toward present day. Here we use Mg/Ca values of subsurface-dwelling Globorotalia tumida to reconstruct subsurface temperatures at Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, JOIDES Resolution, Expedition 320/321, Pacific Equatorial Age Transect, Site U1338. doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.320321.220.2018

During the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), the dominant glacial-interglacial cyclicity as inferred from the marine d18O records of benthic foraminifera (d18Obenthic) changed from 41 kyr to 100 kyr years in the absence of a comparable change in orbital forcing. In this paper we attempt to reconcile these two views of climate change across the MPT. Specifically, we investigated the suggestion that the secular BWT trend obtained from Mg/Ca measurements on Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi and Oridorsalis umbonatus species from N. Atlantic Site 607 is biased by the possible influence of D[CO23 ] on Mg/Ca values in these species by generating a low-resolution BWT record using Uvigerina spp., a genus whose Mg/Ca values are not thought to be influenced by D[CO23 ].

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a major source of global interannual variability, but its response to climate change is uncertain. Paleoclimate records from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) provide insight into ENSO behavior when global boundary conditions (ice sheet extent, atmospheric partial pressure of CO2) were different from those today. In this work, we reconstruct LGM temperature variability at equatorial Pacific sites using Mg/Ca measurements of individual planktonic foraminifera shells.

The tropical Pacific thermocline strength, depth, and tilt are critical to tropical mean state and variability. During the early Pliocene (~3.5 to 4.5 Ma), the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) thermocline was deeper and the cold tongue was warmer than today, which resulted in a mean state with a reduced zonal sea surface temperature gradient or El Padre. However, it is unclear whether the deep thermocline was a local feature of the EEP or a basin-wide condition with global implications. Our measurements of Mg/Ca of Globorotalia tumida in a western equatorial Pacific site indicate Pliocene subsurface temperatures warmer than today; thus, El Padre included a basin-wide thermocline that was relatively warm, deep, and weakly tilted.

During the early Pliocene warm period ( 4.6–4.2 Ma) in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific upwelling region, sea surface temperatures were warm in comparison to modern conditions. Warm upwelling regions have global effects on the heat budget and atmospheric circulation, and are argued to have contributed to Pliocene warmth. Though warm upwelling regions could be explained by weak winds and/or a deep thermocline, the temporal and spatial evolution of the equatorial thermocline is poorly understood. Here we reconstruct temporal and spatial changes in subsurface temperature to monitor thermocline depth and show the thermocline was deeper during the early Pliocene warm period than it is today. We measured subsurface temperature records from Eastern Equatorial Pacific ODP transect Sites 848, 849, and 853 using Mg/Ca records from Globorotalia tumida, which has a depth habitat of 50–100 m.

Ford et al., 2010

NOAA Study 16135

Molluscan shell chemistry may provide an important archive of mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual range in temperature (MART), but such direct temperature interpretations may be confounded by biologic, metabolic, or kinetic factors. To explore this potential archive, we outplanted variously sized specimens of the common mussel Mytilus californianus at relatively low and high intertidal positions in San Diego, California, for 382 days with in situ recording of ambient temperature and periodic sampling of water chemistry. The prismatic calcite layer of eight variously sized specimens from each intertidal position were then serially microsampled and geochemically analyzed for stable isotopes and minor elements (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca).