The record of deglaciation in the Sulu Sea: Evidence for the Younger Dryas Event in the tropical western Pacific


  • Braddock K. Linsley,

  • Robert C. Thunell


A high-resolution, accelerator mass spectroscopy 14C dated sediment record from the Sulu Sea clearly indicates that the Younger Dryas event affected the western equatorial Pacific. Planktonic foraminiferal δ18O and abundance data both record significant changes during Younger Dryas time. In particular, a 0.4‰ increase in the δ18O value of Globigerinoides ruber and the reappearance of the cool water planktonic foraminifera, Neogloboquadrina pachyderma, occur during the Younger Dryas at this location. These isotopic and faunal changes are a response to either surface water temperature or salinity changes, or some combination of the two. Changes in surface salinities could have been accomplished through either local or global processes. Intensification of the monsoon climate system and increased precipitation at approximately 11 ka is one mechanism that may have resulted in local changes in salinity. A meltwater pulse derived from the Tibetan Plateau is another mechanism which may have caused local changes in salinity. The presence of the Younger Dryas in the tropical western Pacific clearly indicates that this climatic event is not restricted to the North Atlantic or high latitudes, but rather is global in extent.