The cold upwelling "tongue" of the eastern equatorial Pacific is a central energetic feature of the ocean, dominating both the mean state and temporal variability of climate in the tropics and beyond. Recent evidence for the development of the modern cold tongue during the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition has been explained as the result of extratropical cooling that drove a shoaling of the thermocline. We have found that the sub-Antarctic and sub-Arctic regions underwent substantial cooling nearly synchronous to the cold tongue development, thereby providing support for this hypothesis. In addition, we show that sub-Antarctic climate changed in its response to Earth's orbital variations, from a subtropical to a subpolar pattern, as expected if cooling shrank the warm-water sphere of the ocean and thus contracted the subtropical gyres. Copyright Science 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.
|Publication status||Published - 18 Jun 2010|