EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Millennial scale monsoon variability in the northeastern Arabian Sea: A multiproxy approach

Andreas Lückge, Jeroen Groeneveld, Martina Hollstein, Mahyar Mohtadi, Enno Schefuß, and Stephan Steinke
Andreas Lückge et al.
  • BGR, Marine Geology, Hannover, Germany (

The Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations and Heinrich events described in Greenland ice core records are also expressed in the climate of the tropical realm as for instance documented in Arabian Sea sediments. However, little is known about these fluctuations beyond the reach of the Greenland ice cores. Here, we present high-resolution organic- and inorganic geochemical, sedimentological as well as micropaleontological data from two cores retrieved off the coast of Pakistan, extending the monsoon record to the past 200,000 years in millennial scale resolution.

The stable oxygen isotope (δ18O) record of the planktic foraminifera G. ruber shows a strong correspondence to Greenland ice core δ18O, whereas the deepwater δ18O signal of benthic foraminifera (U. peregrina and G. affinis) reflects patterns similar to those observed in Antarctic ice core records. Strong shifts in benthic δ18O during stadials are interpreted to show frequent injections of oxygen-rich intermediate water masses of Southern Ocean origin into the Arabian Sea. Alkenone-derived SSTs vary between 23 and 28°C. Highest temperatures were encountered during interglacial MIS 5. Millennial scale SST changes of 2°C magnitude are modulated by long-term SST fluctuations. Interstadials (of glacial phases) and the cold phases of interglacials are characterized by sediments enriched in organic carbon (TOC) whereas sediments with low TOC contents appear during stadials. Abrupt shifts (50-60 year duration) at climate transitions, such as interstadial inceptions, correlate with changes in productivity-related and anoxia-indicating proxies. Interstadial inorganic data consistently show that enhanced fluxes of terrestrial-derived sediments are paralleled by productivity maxima, and are characterized by an increased fluvial contribution from the Indus River. The hydrogen isotopic composition of terrigenous plant waxes indicates that stadials are dry phases whereas humid conditions seem to have prevailed during interstadials. In contrast, stadials are characterized by an increased contribution of aeolian dust probably from the Arabian Peninsula. Heinrich events are especially dry and dusty, indicating a dramatically weakened Indian summer monsoon and increased continental aridity.

These results strengthen the evidence that North Atlantic temperature changes and shifts in the hydrological cycle of the Indian monsoon system are closely coupled, and had a massive impact on regional environmental conditions such as river discharge and ocean margin anoxia. These shifts were modulated by changes in the supply of water masses from the Southern Hemisphere.

How to cite: Lückge, A., Groeneveld, J., Hollstein, M., Mohtadi, M., Schefuß, E., and Steinke, S.: Millennial scale monsoon variability in the northeastern Arabian Sea: A multiproxy approach, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2678,, 2020