Thornalley, David J. R.; Bauch, H. A.; Gebbie, Geoffrey A.; Guo, Weifu; Ziegler, Martin; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Barker, Stephen; Skinner, Luke C.; Yu, Jimin
Changes in the formation of dense water in the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas (the ‘Arctic Mediterranean’, AM) likely contributed to the altered climate of the last glacial period. We examine past changes in AM circulation by reconstructing 14C ventilation ages of the deep Nordic Seas over the last 30,000 years. Our results show that the deep glacial AM was extremely poorly ventilated (ventilation ages of up to 10,000 years). Subsequent episodic overflow of aged water into the mid-depth North Atlantic occurred during deglaciation. Proxy data also suggest the deep glacial AM was ~2-3°C warmer than modern; deglacial mixing of the deep AM with the upper ocean thus potentially contributed to melting sea-ice and icebergs, as well as proximal terminal ice-sheet margins.