Climate dynamics during the marine isotope stage (MIS) 11 interglacial may provide information about how the climate system will evolve under the conditions of low-amplitude orbital forcing that are also found during the late Holocene. New stable isotope and alkenone data are presented from southeast Atlantic Ocean Drilling Program Site 1085, providing detailed information on interglacial climate evolution and the impacts of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and Agulhas leakage on the regional upper ocean hydrography. The data suggest that although warm surface ocean conditions were maintained at approximate Holocene levels for 40,000 years during MIS 11, subsurface temperature and salinity recorded by deeper-dwelling planktonic foraminifera species were maintained at their highest values for only 7000-8000 years. Surface water temperature and salinity data suggest that the interocean exchange of warm, salty waters into the southeast Atlantic Ocean was directly related to changes in the activity of the MOC during the study interval. Specifically, transient regional warming events during periods of weakened overturning circulation may have been amplified by the continuous interocean exchange of warm, salty Indian Ocean waters that primed the MOC for abrupt resumptions into a vigorous mode of operation. Conversely, a peak in interocean exchange at the end of the MIS 11 interglacial optimum may reflect enhanced trade wind forcing of surface waters whose export to the North Atlantic Ocean could have contributed to renewed ice sheet buildup during the MIS 11 to 10 glacial inception.