Two complete late Wisconsin loess successions in the middle Mississippi River Valley reveal 39 and 41 alternating paleosol A- and C-horizons. Striking changes in soil color, iron content, and carbonate content define four major and two minor paleosol A-horizon complexes, which were interpreted to represent Wisconsin interstadials 1, 2, 3, 4, and semiinterstadials 1.5 and 2.5, respectively. The timing of Wisconsin interstadials matches that of corresponding Greenland interstadials. Midcontinent loess and Greenland ice records as well as rates of atmospheric 14C production have periodicities in common, suggesting a solar influence. Only a persistent heat and moisture supply could produce prominent paleosol complexes near the continental ice margin. This record suggests that El Niño–Southern Oscillation variability has amplified solar forcing, and resultant tropical heat and moisture transport played a significant role in millennial- and centennial-scale climate cycles during the late Wisconsin glaciation over the Northern Hemisphere.

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