A multiproxy fjord sediment record of Holocene climate change from the subantarctic Auckland Islands
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SHWW) and the associated oceanic fronts have a major influence on atmospheric and oceanic circulation in the Southern Hemisphere. Sediment cores recovered from fjords along the eastern margin of the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands (51°S, 166°E) are ideally located to sensitively record changes in the strength and position of the SHWW throughout the Holocene. A 5.75m core from Hanfield Inlet preserves both marine and terrestrial environmental components, which we use to develop a multiproxy record of past climatic conditions. This core, composed entirely of brown marine mud and silt, was recovered from a depth of 44m. Based on the entrance sill depth of the fjord (10mbsl) and our knowledge of regional sea level rise, we infer that the base of the core will be early Holocene in age, which will be confirmed using radiocarbon age dating. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages (125-500μm fraction) in surface and downcore samples are dominated by three taxa, Nonionellina flemingi, Cassidulina carinata and Quinqueloculina seminula. These species are either shallow infaunal or infaunal. We will use stable carbon (δ¹³C) and oxygen (δ¹⁸O) isotope geochemistry of the benthic foraminifera Nonionellina flemingi, Bolivina cf. earlandi, Trifarina angulosa, Bulimina marginata f. marginata and Cibicides species (all identified from Rose Bengal stained box-core samples) to reconstruct water column fluctuations associated with frontal migration. These results will compliment bulk sediment C and N concentration and isotope reconstructions of terrestrial organic matter delivery to fjord sub-basins over the past 12,000 years.