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Intertropical convergence zone variability in the Neotropics during the Common Era

Asmerom, Y.; Baldini, J.U.L.; Prufer, K.M.; Polyak, V.J.; Ridley, H.E.; Aquino, V.V.; Baldini, L.M.; Breitenbach, S.F.M.; Macpherson, C.G.; Kennett, D.J.

Intertropical convergence zone variability in the Neotropics during the Common Era Thumbnail


Y. Asmerom

K.M. Prufer

V.J. Polyak

H.E. Ridley

V.V. Aquino

S.F.M. Breitenbach

C.G. Macpherson

D.J. Kennett


Large changes in hydroclimate in the Neotropics implied by proxy evidence, such as during the Little Ice Age, have been attributed to meridional shifts of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), although alternative modes of ITCZ variability have also been suggested. Here, we use seasonally resolved stalagmite rainfall proxy data from the modern northern limit of the ITCZ in southern Belize, combined with records from across the Neotropics and subtropics, to fingerprint ITCZ variability during the Common Era. Our data are consistent with models that suggest ITCZ expansion and weakening during globally cold climate intervals and contraction and intensification during global warmth. As a result, regions currently in the margins of the ITCZ in both hemispheres are likely transitioning to more arid and highly variable conditions, aggravating current trends of increased social unrest and mass migration.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 3, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 14, 2020
Publication Date Feb 14, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 18, 2020
Journal Science Advances
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 7
Article Number eaax3644
Public URL


Published Journal Article (1.1 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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