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International Ocean Discovery Program
Expedition 363 Preliminary Report

Western Pacific Warm Pool

Neogene and Quaternary records of Western Pacific Warm Pool paleoceanography1

6 October–8 December 2016

Yair Rosenthal, Ann E. Holbourn, Denise K. Kulhanek, and the Expedition 363 Scientists

Published February 2017

See the full publication in PDF.


International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 363 sought to document the regional expression and driving mechanisms of climate variability (e.g., temperature, precipitation, and productivity) in the Western Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) as it relates to the evolution of Neogene climate on millennial, orbital, and geological timescales. To achieve our objectives, we selected sites with wide geographical distribution and variable oceanographic and depositional settings. Nine sites were cored during Expedition 363, recovering a total of 6956 m of sediment in 875–3421 m water depth with an average recovery of 101.3% during 39.6 days of on-site operations. Two sites are located off northwestern Australia at the southern extent of the WPWP and span the late Miocene to present. Seven sites are situated at the heart of the WPWP, including two sites on the northern margin of Papua New Guinea (PNG) with very high sedimentation rates spanning the past ~450 ky, two sites in the Manus Basin north of PNG with moderate sedimentation rates recovering upper Pliocene to present sequences, and three low sedimentation rate sites on the southern and northern parts of the Eauripik Rise spanning the early Miocene to present. The wide spatial distribution of the cores, variable accumulation rates, exceptional biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic age constraints, and mostly excellent foraminifer preservation will allow us to trace the evolution of the WPWP through the Neogene at different temporal resolutions, meeting the primary objectives of Expedition 363. Specifically, the high sedimentation–rate cores off PNG will allow us to better constrain mechanisms influencing millennial-scale variability in the WPWP, their links to high-latitude climate variability, and implications for temperature and precipitation variations in this region under variable climate conditions. Furthermore, these high accumulation rates offer the opportunity to study climate variability during previous warm periods at a resolution similar to existing studies of the Holocene. With excellent recovery, Expedition 363 sites are suitable for detailed paleoceanographic reconstructions at orbital and suborbital resolution from the middle Miocene to Pleistocene, and thus will be used to refine the astronomical tuning, magneto-, isotope, and biostratigraphy of hitherto poorly constrained intervals within the Neogene timescale (e.g., the late Miocene) and to reconstruct the history of the East Asian and Australian monsoon and the Indonesian Throughflow on orbital and tectonic timescales. Results from high-resolution interstitial water sampling at selected sites will be used to reconstruct density profiles of the western equatorial Pacific deep water during the Last Glacial Maximum. Additional geochemical analyses of interstitial water samples in this tectonically active region will be used to investigate volcanogenic mineral and carbonate weathering and their possible implications for the evolution of Neogene climate.

1Rosenthal, Y., Holbourn, A.E., Kulhanek, D.K., and the Expedition 363 Scientists, 2017. Expedition 363 Preliminary Report: Western Pacific Warm Pool. International Ocean Discovery Program.​10.14379/​