Synchronous interhemispheric Holocene climate trends in the tropical Andes

Pratigya J. Polissar, Mark B. Abbott, Alexander P. Wolfe, Mathias Vuille, Maximiliano Bezada

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23 Scopus citations


Holocene variations of tropical moisture balance have been ascribed to orbitally forced changes in solar insolation. If this model is correct, millennial-scale climate evolution should be antiphased between the northern and southern hemispheres, producing humid intervals in one hemisphere matched to aridity in the other. Here we show that Holocene climate trends were largely synchronous and in the same direction in the northern and southern hemisphere outer-tropical Andes, providing little support for the dominant role of insolation forcing in these regions. Today, seasurface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean modulate rainfall variability in the outer tropical Andes of both hemispheres, and we suggest that this mechanism was pervasive throughout the Holocene. Our findings imply that oceanic forcing plays a larger role in regional South American climate than previously suspected, and that Paci fic sea-surface temperatures have the capacity to induce abrupt and sustained shifts in Andean climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14551-14556
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 3 2013


  • Bolivia
  • Caribbean
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation
  • Milankovitch
  • Venezuela

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