The degree to which palaeoclimatic changes in the Southern Hemisphere co-varied with events in the high latitude Northern Hemisphere during the Last Termination is a contentious issue, with conflicting evidence for the degree of ‘teleconnection’ between different regions of the Southern Hemisphere. The available hypotheses are difficult to test robustly, however, because there are few detailed palaeoclimatic records in the Southern Hemisphere. Here we present climatic reconstructions from the southwestern Pacific, a key region in the Southern Hemisphere because of the potentially important role it plays in global climate change. The reconstructions for the period 20–10kyrBP were obtained from five sites along a transect from southern New Zealand, through Australia to Indonesia, supported by 125 calibrated 14 C ages. Two periods of significant climatic change can be identified across the region at around 17 and 14.2calkyrBP, most probably associated with the onset of warming in the West Pacific Warm Pool and the collapse of Antarctic ice during Meltwater Pulse-1A, respectively. The severe geochronological constraints that inherently afflict age models based on radiocarbon dating and the lack of quantified climatic parameters make more detailed interpretations problematic, however. There is an urgent need to address the geochronological limitations, and to develop more precise and quantified estimates of the pronounced climate variations that clearly affected this region during the Last Termination.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.