Coherent patterns of environmental change at multiple organic spring sites in northwest Australia: Evidence of Indonesian-Australian summer monsoon variability over the last 14,500 years
At present, knowledge of late Quaternary variability of the Indonesian-Australian summer monsoon in the Australian tropics is limited. Organic spring deposits, which occur throughout the Kimberley region of northwest Australia, are valuable archives that contain records spanning the past ∼14,500 years. In this study we compare multiple proxies from three organic springs. Principal Components Analyses demonstrates similar patterns of change in the elemental and non-pollen palynomorph (NPP) datasets between the springs, implying regional drivers are responsible for changes in these proxies. By comparison, the pollen records differ between each of the springs, with the assemblage at each thought to be influenced by spring recharge and evolution rather than climate variability. In order to empirically and objectively assess the synchronicity of changes, we applied Monte Carlo empirical orthogonal function (MCEOF) analysis to one variable in each μXRF and NPP dataset (Si/Ti ratios and Pseudoschizaea accumulation rates, as these proxies are expected to reflect hydrological conditions in springs) to assess regional patterns of change in site moisture. This analysis revealed periods of increased monsoonal precipitation from ∼14,500-7500 cal. yr BP corresponding with deglacial sea level rise, high orbital tilt coupled with warmer sea surface temperatures, and with possible links to a southward migration of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) during the Younger Dryas. Monsoonal precipitation was reduced from 7500 cal. yr BP coinciding with the culmination of deglacial sea level rise and a possible northward shift in the mean position of the ITCZ, in addition to between 2600 and 1000 cal. yr BP corresponding with increased moderate-to-strong ENSO events.