On the interpretation of Caribbean paleo-temperature reconstructions during the Younger Dryas
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A conundrum exists regarding whether the sea-surface temperatures decreased or increased over the southern Caribbean and the western Tropical Atlantic region during the Younger Dryas when the North Atlantic cooled substantially and the Atlantic thermohaline circulation was weakened significantly. Despite the proximity of core locations, some proxy reconstructions record a surface cooling, while others indicate a warming. We suggest that this seemingly paradoxical finding may, at least partially, be attributed to the competing physical processes that result in opposing signs of temperature change in the region in response to weakened North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Our coupled ocean-atmosphere model experiments indicate that the temperature response over the southern Caribbean and Western Tropical Atlantic regions is complex and can vary considerably in small spatial scales, depending on the nature of physical processes that dominate. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.