Variability in Intermediate Water Mass Geometry in the Tropical W-Atlantic from LGM to Holocene

Monday, 15 December 2014
David-Willem Poggemann, Dirk Nuernberg, Ed C Hathorne, Imke Bruhn, Stefan Reißig and Martin Frank, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
The oceanic intermediate depth response to periods of abrupt climatic cooling during the last deglaciation, namely the Younger Dryas (YD) and Heinrich 1 event (H1), has been the focus of several recent studies (e.g. Pahnke et al., 2008; Huang et al., 2014; Xie et al., 2014; Gebbie et al., 2014). Intermediate water dynamics, in particular the interaction between Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) and North Atlantic Deepwater (NADW) during the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the Holocene and the connection with Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), however, are still debated widely. Several hypotheses suggest the short-term presence of AAIW in the subtropical Atlantic or N-Atlantic sourced intermediate water masses in the Florida Straits during deglacial cool periods when the AMOC was supposedly weak or collapsed (e.g. Xie et al., 2012).

This study provides new water mass geometry information from the tropical W-Atlantic for the past 35 ka using a multiproxy approach. We analysed calcitic tests of benthic/planktonic foraminifera from various intermediate depth locations for Mg/Ca (temperature), Cdw (nutrients), δ18Osw (salinity), δ13C (ventilation), and εNd (water mass provenance and mixing) in order to improve our understanding of the intermediate water mass distribution and variability between 400 and 1500 m water depth on millennial time-scales. First results document the southward penetration of Glacial North Atlantic Intermediate Water (GNAIW) replacing the NADW during the LGM. Furthermore our data indicate a gradual shift from GNAIW influenced conditions during the LGM to AAIW dominated conditions throughout the Holocene.