Flower Benjamin P.

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Benjamin P.

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  • Article
    Stability of North Atlantic water masses in face of pronounced climate variability during the Pleistocene
    (American Geophysical Union, 2004-04-21) Raymo, Maureen E. ; Oppo, Delia W. ; Flower, Benjamin P. ; Hodell, David A. ; McManus, Jerry F. ; Venz, K.A. ; Kleiven, Helga F. ; McIntyre, K.
    Geochemical profiles from the North Atlantic Ocean suggest that the vertical δ13C structure of the water column at intermediate depths did not change significantly between glacial and interglacial time over much of the Pleistocene, despite large changes in ice volume and iceberg delivery from nearby landmasses. The most anomalous δ13C profiles are from the extreme interglaciations of the late Pleistocene. This compilation of data suggests that, unlike today (an extreme interglaciation), the two primary sources of northern deep water, Norwegian-Greenland Sea and Labrador Sea/subpolar North Atlantic, had different characteristic δ13C values over most of the Pleistocene. We speculate that the current open sea ice conditions in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea are a relatively rare occurrence and that the high-δ13C deep water that forms in this region today is geologically unusual. If northern source deep waters can have highly variable δ13C, then this likelihood must be considered when inferring past circulation changes from benthic δ13C records.
  • Article
    Merging late Holocene molecular organic and foraminiferal-based geochemical records of sea surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico
    (American Geophysical Union, 2011-03-09) Richey, Julie N. ; Hollander, David J. ; Flower, Benjamin P. ; Eglinton, Timothy I.
    A molecular organic geochemical proxy (TEX86) for sea surface temperature (SST) is compared with a foraminifera-based SST proxy (Mg/Ca) in a decadal-resolution marine sedimentary record spanning the last 1000 years from the Gulf of Mexico. We assess the relative strengths of the organic and inorganic paleoceanographic techniques for reconstructing high-resolution SST variability during recent climate events, including the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). SST estimates based on the molecular organic proxy TEX86 show a similar magnitude and pattern of SST variability to foraminiferal Mg/Ca-SST estimates but with some important differences. For instance, both proxies show a cooling (1°C–2°C) of Gulf of Mexico SSTs during the LIA. During the MWP, however, Mg/Ca-SSTs are similar to near-modern SSTs, while TEX86 indicates SSTs that were cooler than modern. Using the respective SST calibrations for each proxy results in TEX86-SST estimates that are 2°C–4°C warmer than Mg/Ca-SST throughout the 1000 year record. We interpret the TEX86-SST as a summer-weighted SST signal from the upper mixed layer, whereas the Mg/Ca-SST better reflects the mean annual SST. Downcore differences in the SST estimates between the two proxies (ΔT = TEX86 − Mg/Ca) are interpreted in the context of varying seasonality and/or changing water column temperature gradients.