Deglacial Ocean Circulation Scheme at Intermediate Depths in the Tropical North Atlantic

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:10 PM
Ruifang C. Xie, Texas A&M University, Geology & Geophysics, College Station, TX, United States; Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, Franco Marcantonio, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, United States and Matthew W Schmidt, other, College Station, TX, United States
In the modern Atlantic Ocean, intermediate water circulation is largely governed by the southward flowing upper North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and the northward return flow Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW). During the last deglaciation, it is commonly accepted that the southward flow Glacial North Atlantic Intermediate Water, the glacial analogue of NADW, contributed significantly to past variations in intermediate water circulation. However, to date, there is no common consensus of the role AAIW played during the last deglaciation, especially across abrupt climate events such as the Heinrich 1 and the Younger Dryas.

This study aims to reconstruct intermediate northern- and southern-sourced water circulation in the tropical North Atlantic during the past 22 kyr and attempts to confine the boundary between AAIW and northern-sourced intermediate waters in the past. High-resolution Nd isotopic compositions (εNd thereafter) of fish debris and bulk sediment acid-reductive leachate from the Southern Caribbean (VM12-107; 1079 m) are inconsistent, again casting concerns, as already raised by recent studies, on the reliability of the leachate method in extracting seawater εNd signature. This urges the need to carefully verify the seawater εNd integrity in sediment acid-reductive leachate in various oceanic settings. Fish debris Nd isotope record in our study displays a two-step decreasing trend from the early deglaciation to early Holocene. We interpret this as recording a two-step deglacial recovery of the upper NADW, given the assumption on a more radiogenic glacial northern-sourced water is valid. Comparing with authigenic εNd records in the Florida Straits [1] and the Demarara Rise [2], our new fish debris εNd results suggest that, in the tropical western North Atlantic, glacial and deglacial AAIW never penetrated beyond the lower depth limit of modern AAIW.

[1] Xie et al., GCA (140) 2014; [2] Huang et al., EPSL (389) 2014