• Mindanao Dome;
  • East Asian monsoon;
  • oceanic circulation

[1] We present sea surface, upper thermocline, and benthic δ18O data, as well as temperature and paleoproductivity proxy data, from the International Marine Global Change Study Program (IMAGES) Core MD06-3067 (6°31′N, 126°30′E, 1575 m water depth), located in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean within the flow path of the Mindanao Current. Our records reveal considerable glacial-interglacial and suborbital variability in the Mindanao Dome upwelling over the last 160 kyr. Dome activity generally intensified during glacial intervals resulting in cooler thermocline waters, whereas it substantially declined during interglacials, in particular in the early Holocene and early marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 5e, when upwelling waters did not reach the thermocline. During MIS 3 and MIS 2, enhanced surface productivity together with remarkably low SST and low upper ocean thermal contrast provide evidence for episodic glacial upwelling to the surface, whereas transient surface warming marks periodic collapses of the Mindanao Dome upwelling during Heinrich events. We attribute the high variability during MIS 3 and MIS 2 to changes in the El Niño Southern Oscillation state that affected boreal winter monsoonal winds and upper ocean circulation. Glacial upwelling intensified when a strong cyclonic gyre became established, whereas El Niño–like conditions during Heinrich events tended to suppress the cyclonic circulation, reducing Ekman transport. Thus, our findings demonstrate that variations in the Mindanao Dome upwelling are closely linked to the position and intensity of the tropical convection and also reflect far-field influences from the high latitudes.