To reconstruct the response of vegetation to abrupt climate changes during the last glacial we have compiled pollen records from the circum-Atlantic tropics between 23°N and 23°S from both marine and terrestrial sediment cores. Pollen data were grouped into mega-biomes to facilitate the comparison between the different records. Most tropical African records do not appear to register Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) variability, although there are vegetation changes during Heinrich Stadials (HS). There is a stronger signal of D-O and HS variability in the South American records. Records close to the modern northern and southern limits of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) show opposite trends in vegetation development during HS and D-O cycles. The pollen data from tropical South America corroborate the hypothesis of a southward shift in the migration pattern of the ITCZ and a reduction in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) during HS.