The Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP) climate and related monsoon systems directly affect approximately half the global population, and knowing their past behaviour is crucial for the understanding of our climate system and potential future change. However, few terrestrial proxy records exist in the tropics to resolve the details of IPWP climate variability.

Here we present a 12,200-year record from a peatland situated in the western IPWP region situated at 1500m altitude in highland Sumatra, a region with high influence from the Indian Ocean. We use branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs), bulk and compound-specific stable isotopes, Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) analysis, carbon accumulation rate and long-chain alkane distributions, augmented by pollen and geochemical (XRF) analysis, to reconstruct past temperature, precipitation and environmental changes.

We find that not only the Younger Dryas, but also the early Holocene was still cold and affected by a greater ENSO variability. Around 8 ka BP the climate started to warm considerably, ENSO was reduced and temperatures were as much as 3˚C warmer than today around 5 ka BP. This was followed by a temperature decrease with an abrupt shift to colder temperatures and greater influence of El Nino after 3ka BP.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Aichner et al.
    , 2010. Influence of aquatic macrophytes on the stable carbon isotopic signatures of sedimentary organic matter in lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. Org. Geochem, 706–718, 41.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Chen et al.
    , 2016. A high-resolution speleothem record of western equatorial Pacific rainfall: Implications for Holocene ENSO evolution. EPSL, 61–71, 442.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Climate-data.org
    Climate-data.org, 2021. https://en.climate-data.org/asia/indonesia/west-sumatra/alahan-panjang-579905/
  4. Hanebuth et al.
    , 2000. Rapid Flooding of the Sunda Shelf: A LateGlacial Sea-level Record. Science, 1033–1035, 288.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Huang et al.
    , 2019. Two-phase structure of tropical hydroclimate during Heinrich Stadial 1 and its global implications. QSR, 1–15, 222.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Wurtzel et al.
    , 2018. Tropical Indo-Pacific hydroclimate response to North Atlantic forcing during the last deglaciation as recorded by a speleothem from Sumatra, Indonesia. ESPL, 264–278, 492.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error