Radiocarbon and stable isotope constraints on Last Glacial Maximum and Younger Dryas ventilation in the western North Atlantic
Keigwin, Lloyd D.
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Foraminiferal abundance, 14C ventilation ages, and stable isotope ratios in cores from high deposition rate locations in the western subtropical North Atlantic are used to infer changes in ocean and climate during the Younger Dryas (YD) and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The δ18O of the surface dwelling planktonic foram Globigerinoides ruber records the present-day decrease in surface temperature (SST) of ∼4°C from Gulf Stream waters to the northeastern Bermuda Rise. If during the LGM the modern δ18O/salinity relationship was maintained, this SST contrast was reduced to 2°C. With LGM to interglacial δ18O changes of at least 2.2‰, SSTs in the western subtropical gyre may have been as much as 5°C colder. Above ∼2.3 km, glacial δ13C was higher than today, consistent with nutrient-depleted (younger) bottom waters, as identified previously. Below that, δ13C decreased continually to −0.5‰, about equal to the lowest LGM δ13C in the North Pacific Ocean. Seven pairs of benthic and planktonic foraminiferal 14C dates from cores >2.5 km deep differ by 1100 ± 340 years, with a maximum apparent ventilation age of ∼1500 years at 4250 m and at ∼4700 m. Apparent ventilation ages are presently unavailable for the LGM < 2.5 km because of problems with reworking on the continental slope when sea level was low. Because LGM δ13C is about the same in the deep North Atlantic and the deep North Pacific, and because the oldest apparent ventilation ages in the LGM North Atlantic are the same as the North Pacific today, it is possible that the same water mass, probably of southern origin, flowed deep within each basin during the LGM. Very early in the YD, dated here at 11.25 ± 0.25 (n = 10) conventional 14C kyr BP (equal to 12.9 calendar kyr BP), apparent ventilation ages <2.3 km water depth were about the same as North Atlantic Deep Water today. Below ∼2.3 km, four YD pairs average 1030 ± 400 years. The oldest apparent ventilation age for the YD is 1600 years at 4250 m. This strong contrast in ventilation, which indicates a front between water masses of very different origin, is similar to glacial profiles of nutrient-like proxies. This suggests that the LGM and YD modes of ocean circulation were the same.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Paleoceanography 19 (2004): PA4012, doi:10.1029/2004PA001029.
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