South American monsoon response to iceberg discharge in the North Atlantic

Nicolás M. Stríkis, Francisco W. Cruz, Eline A.S. Barreto, Filipa Naughton, Mathias Vuille, Hai Cheng, Antje H.L. Voelker, Haiwei Zhang, Ivo Karmann, R. Lawrence Edwards, Augusto S. Auler, Roberto Ventura Santos, Hamilton Reis Sales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Heinrich Stadials significantly affected tropical precipitation through changes in the interhemispheric temperature gradient as a result of abrupt cooling in the North Atlantic. Here, we focus on changes in South American monsoon precipitation during Heinrich Stadials using a suite of speleothem records covering the last 85 ky B.P. from eastern South America. We document the response of South American monsoon precipitation to episodes of extensive iceberg discharge, which is distinct from the response to the cooling episodes that precede the main phase of ice-rafted detritus deposition. Our results demonstrate that iceberg discharge in the western subtropical North Atlantic led to an abrupt increase in monsoon precipitation over eastern South America. Our findings of an enhanced Southern Hemisphere monsoon, coeval with the iceberg discharge into the North Atlantic, are consistent with the observed abrupt increase in atmospheric methane concentrations during Heinrich Stadials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3788-3793
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

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© 2018 National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved.


  • Heinrich Stadial
  • Ice-rafted detritus
  • South American monsoon
  • Speleothem


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