Deep Ocean Circulation and Nutrient Contents from Atlantic-Pacific Gradients of Neodymium and Carbon Isotopes During the Last 1 Ma

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Alexander M Piotrowski, Henry Elderfield and Jacob N W Howe, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
The last few million years saw changing boundary conditions to the Earth system which set the stage for bi-polar glaciation and Milankovich-forced glacial-interglacial cycles which dominate Quaternary climate variability. Recent studies have highlighted the relative importance of temperature, ice volume and ocean circulation changes during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition at ~900 ka (Elderfield et al., 2012, Pena and Goldstein, 2014). Reconstructing the history of global deep water mass propagation and its carbon content is important for fully understanding the ocean’s role in amplifying Milankovich changes to cause glacial-interglacial transitions.

A new foraminiferal-coating Nd isotope record from ODP Site 1123 on the deep Chatham Rise is interpreted as showing glacial-interglacial changes in the bottom water propagation of Atlantic-sourced waters into the Pacific via the Southern Ocean during the last 1 million years. This is compared to globally-distributed bottom water Nd isotope records; including a new deep western equatorial Atlantic Ocean record from ODP Site 929, as well as published records from ODP 1088 and Site 1090 in the South Atlantic (Pena and Goldstein, 2014), and ODP 758 in the deep Indian Ocean (Gourlan et al., 2010). Atlantic-to-Pacific gradients in deep ocean neodymium isotopes are constructed for key time intervals to elucidate changes in deep water sourcing and circulation pathways through the global ocean. Benthic carbon isotopes are used to estimate deep water nutrient contents of deep water masses and constrain locations and modes of deep water formation.


Elderfield et al. Science 337, 704 (2012)

Pena and Goldstein, Science 345, 318 (2014)

Gourlan et al., Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 2484-2498 (2010)