Deglacial Atlantic Radiocarbon: A Southern Ocean Perspective

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 10:50 AM
Laura F Robinson1, Andrea Burke2, Jess F Adkins3, Tianyu Chen1 and Peter Spooner1, (1)University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom, (2)University of St Andrews, St Andrews, KY16, United Kingdom, (3)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States
It is widely accepted that the Southern Ocean is an important component of the climate system, acting as a key site for carbon and heat exchange between the atmosphere and oceans. The deglaciation with its associated millenial climate changes is a key time period for testing the mechanisms behind these exchanges. Ascertaining the precise timing of these events is a challenge given complications from variable and largely unconstrained reservoir ages, dissolution of carbonate hard parts and sediment redistribution by strong currents. Nevertheless improvements to our understanding of Southern Ocean dynamics in the past requires accurately-dated proxy records that can be embedded in GCM models. Radiocarbon measured in deep-sea corals offers just such an archive and proxy. Using the skeletons of deep-sea corals we are now able to reconstruct aspects of the history of three distinct water masses in the Drake Passage on a precise timescale, allowing direct comparison to U-series dated speleothem terrestrial records and polar ice cores. We present here a new deglacial radiocarbon record from the Drake Passage which more than doubles the resolution of published records. We focus on the deglacial, as well as providing insights from the contrasting period leading up to the LGM. Together with new data from far-field sites we interpret our results as evidence for a Southern Ocean control on atmospheric carbon dioxide and radiocarbon evolution during the deglaciation, and a northern hemisphere control during the run up to the LGM.