Journal article

Indonesian Throughflow drove Australian climate from humid Pliocene to arid Pleistocene

BA Christensen, W Renema, J Henderiks, D De Vleeschouwer, J Groeneveld, IS Castañeda, L Reuning, K Bogus, G Auer, T Ishiwa, CM Mchugh, SJ Gallagher, CS Fulthorpe

Geophysical Research Letters | AGU Publications | Published : 2017


Late Miocene to mid-Pleistocene sedimentary proxy records reveal that northwest Australia underwent an abrupt transition from dry to humid climate conditions at 5.5 million years (Ma), likely receiving year-round rainfall, but after ~3.3 Ma, climate shifted toward an increasingly seasonal precipitation regime. The progressive constriction of the Indonesian Throughflow likely decreased continental humidity and transferred control of northwest Australian climate from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, leading to drier conditions punctuated by monsoonal precipitation. The northwest dust pathway and fully established seasonal and orbitally controlled precipitation were in place by ~2.4 Ma, well af..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by United States Science Support Program

Awarded by Swedish Research Council (VR)

Awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Funding Acknowledgements

This research used samples and data provided by the International Ocean Discovery Program. We thank the JRSO staff and the SIEM Offshore crew for their invaluable assistance and skill during the Expedition. We gratefully acknowledge the drilling proposal proponents and B. Wygal and N. McGee for graphic assistance. All data generated during IODP Expedition 356 are publicly accessible via the IODP-JOIDES Resolution Science Operator website ( We acknowledge financial support by the United States Science Support Program (to B.C., I.S.C., K.B., C.M.M., and C.S.F., National Science Foundation prime award OCE-1450528), the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (to W.R.), the Swedish Research Council (VR grants 2011-4866 and 2016-04434 to J.H.), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Projects VL 96/1-1 to D.D.V. and GR 3528/3-1 to J.G.), and the Australian Research Council (award to S.J.G.).