Research

Indonesian climate shift linked to glacial cycle

Beautiful at the core

Lake Towuti, an ancient lake on the island of Sulawesi in central Indonesia, has yielded a 60,000-year sedimentary record of Indonesian climate. Weather conditions in Indonesia have a significant impact on global climate. Credit: Russell lab/Brown University

Indonesian waters are major agents for global levels of atmospheric water vapor. A prolonged dry spell in Indonesia thousands of years ago has been found to correlate with ice ages in the northern hemisphere. Brown researchers have compiled a detailed Indonesian climate record of the last 60,000 years, tracking telltale indicators in sedimentary cores: titanium levels (a marker for surface water runoff) and the carbon isotopes of leaf wax, a marker for plant varieties (grasses indicate dry conditions).