A 400-kyr record of millennial-scale carbonate preservation events in the Southern Ocean: Implications for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and atmospheric CO2

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 12:05 PM
David A Hodell1, Maryline J Vautravers1, Steven Barker2, Christopher D Charles3 and Simon Crowhurst1, (1)University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, (2)Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom, (3)Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States
Hodell et al. (2001) suggested that carbonate preservation in the deep Cape Basin represented a qualitative, high-resolution record of the temporal evolution of the carbonate saturation state of the deep sea. The carbonate signal reflects both transient events in the redistribution of alkalinity and DIC in the deep ocean and steady-state mass balance processes. Here we re-analyzed the carbonate records of Sites 1089/TN057-21 using an Avaatech XRF core scanner and measured elemental variations at 2.5-mm resolution for the past 400 kyrs. Log Ca/Ti is highly correlated to weight percent carbonate content and other dissolution proxies and resolves millennial-scale events in carbonate preservation. A high-pass filter removes the low-frequency (orbital) variability in carbonate preservation, which is attributed mainly to steady-state mass balance processes. The high-frequency (suborbital) component reflects transient responses to the redistribution of carbonate ion that is related mainly to changing deep-water circulation.

During the last glacial period, distinct millennial-scale increases in carbonate preservation in piston core TN057-21 occurred during times of enhanced Atlantic Meridional Overtunring Circulation (AMOC) (Barker et al., 2010; Barker and Diz, 2014), as supported by increases in benthic δ13C and less radiogenic εNd values. Carbonate preservation peaked particularly during long, warm interstadials in Greenland when a deep water mass with high carbonate ion concentration was formed in the North Atlantic. Export of NADW may have been greater than the Holocene during some of these events (“overshoots”) and/or preformed carbonate ion concentrations in North Atlantic source areas may have been higher owing to lower atmospheric CO2 and less carbonate production in surface water. Each South Atlantic carbonate peak is associated with the start of Antarctic cooling and declining or leveling of atmospheric CO2, reflecting the signature of a thermal bipolar seesaw. The increased flux of carbonate ion to the Southern Ocean during strong interstadials may have played a role in titrating respiratory CO2, thereby slowing CO2 degassing to the atmosphere and providing a secondary mechanism, in addition to heat transport, for interhemispheric coupling on millennial time scales.