Date of Award

Winter 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Sciences: Oceanography

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Rosemarie Came


Asian monsoon rains provide freshwater to one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. However, despite the societal and economic importance of the monsoon, its forcing mechanisms are not fully understood. Here I present a new reconstruction of monsoon variability from the last glacial period to the present as recorded in planktic foraminiferal Mg/Ca and delta18 O of a marine sediment core from the Mahanadi Basin in the northwestern Bay of Bengal.

This new reconstruction reveals an increase in the intensity of the summer monsoon since the last glacial period, in agreement with known changes in northern hemisphere summer insolation. Furthermore, it suggests that the intertropical convergence zone migrated northward during the Bolling-Allerod warm period, but not northward enough to impact the waters of the Mahanadi Basin.