The position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is sensitive to changes in the balance of heat between the hemispheres which has fundamental implications for tropical hydrology and atmospheric circulation. Although the ITCZ is thought to experience the largest shifts in position during deglacial stadial events, the magnitude of shifts has proven difficult to reconstruct, in part because of a paucity of high-resolution records, particularly those including spatial components. Here we track the position of the ITCZ from 150 to 110 ka at three sites in the central equatorial Pacific at sub-millennial time resolution. Our results provide evidence of large, abrupt changes in tropical climate during the penultimate deglaciation, coincident with North Atlantic Heinrich Stadial 11 (~136–129 ka). We identify this event both as a Northern Hemisphere increase in aeolian dust and as a shift in the mean position of the ITCZ a minimum of 4 southwards at 160 W.


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