Variations in sea surface temperature (SST), productivity, and biogenic components such as total organic carbon (TOC), carbonate, and opal contents measured from IMAGES (International Marine Global Changes Study) core MD972142 provide information about long-term paleoceanographic changes during the past ∼870000 years in the southeastern South China Sea (SCS). MD972142 U37k -SSTs varied from 25 to 29°C, paralleling the glacial to interglacial changes. MD972142 biogenic components show relatively high carbonate and opal, and low TOC contents in interglacial stages, and low carbonate and opal and high TOC contents in glacial stages, and these variations appear to be sensitive to regional terrestrial sediment input and productivity. Our analysis indicates that the MD972142 carbonate record is primarily controlled by terrestrial sediment inputs that are associated with sea level fluctuations during past glacial-interglacial stages. The TOC record reflects past glacial-interglacial changes in both monsoon-induced productivity and terrestrial organic matter input in the SCS. The TOC record exhibits several short-term peaks that are associated with lower U37k -SSTs (especially in MIS 2-4, 10, 12), perhaps implying a much strengthened winter monsoon. The opal record shows relatively high content in most interglacial stages, which appears to be linked to increased summer monsoon upwelling or increased siliceous sediment input by more precipitation and river runoff during warm climate conditions. The TOC and opal contents both show long-term increasing trends since the mid-Brunhes, most noticeably from ∼330 kya. The long-term trends observed in this study are most likely attributable to changes in SCS hydrography, productivity, and/or preservation in response to the increased strength of the East Asian monsoon system on possibly tectonic timescales.
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