Karas, C et al. (2011): Planktonic Mg/Ca and stable oxygen isotope ratios for DSDP Hole 90-590B. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.786478, Supplement to:Karas, Cyrus; Nürnberg, Dirk; Tiedemann, Ralf; Garbe-Schönberg, Carl-Dieter (2011): Pliocene climate change of the Southwest Pacific and the impact of ocean gateways. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 301(1-2), 117-124, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.10.028
The transition from the early Pliocene "Warmhouse" towards the present "Icehouse" climate and the role of Gateway dynamics are intensively debated. Both, the constrictions of the Central American Seaway and the Indonesian Gateway affected ocean circulation and climate during the Pliocene epoch. Here, we use combined d18O and Mg/Ca ratios of planktonic foraminifera (marine protozoa) from surface and subsurface levels to reconstruct the thermal structure and changes in salinities from the Southwest Pacific Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 590B from 6.5 to 2.5 Ma. Our data suggest a gradual cooling of ~2 °C and freshening of the sea surface during ~4.6-4 Ma with an increased meridional temperature gradient between the West Pacific Warm Pool and the Southwest Pacific when the closing of the Central American Seaway reached a critical threshold. After ~ 3.5 Ma, the restricted Indonesian Gateway might have amplified the East Australian Current, allowing enhanced heat transport towards the Southwest Pacific with reduced meridional temperature gradients when the global climate gradually cooled. At the same time our data suggest a cooling and freshening of Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) or/and an increased northward flow of SAMW towards Site 590B, possibly a first step towards the present Antarctic Frontal System.