Warm Atlantic surface water inflow to the Nordic seas 34–10 calibrated ka B.P.
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A number of short-lasting warm periods (interstadials) interrupted the otherwise cold climate of the last glacial period. These events are supposedly linked to the inflow of the warm Atlantic surface water to the Nordic seas. However, previous investigations of planktonic foraminifera from the Nordic seas have not been able to resolve any significant difference between the interstadials and intervening cold stadials, as the faunas are continuously dominated by the polar species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma s. Here we examine the planktonic foraminifera assemblages from a high-resolution core, LINK17, taken at 1500 m water depth off northern Scotland below the warmest part of the inflowing Atlantic water. The core comprises the time period 34–10 calibrated ka B.P., the coldest period of the last glaciation and the deglaciation. The results reveal a hitherto unknown faunistic variability indicating significant fluctuations in both surface water inflow and in summer sea surface temperatures. During the interstadials, relatively warm Atlantic surface water (4–7°C) flowed north into the eastern Norwegian Sea. During the stadials and Heinrich events the surface inflow stopped and the temperatures in the study area dropped to <2°C. The Last Glacial Maximum was nearly as warm as the interstadials, but the inflow was much more unstable. The data reveal two previously unrecognized warming events each lasting more than 1600 years and preceding Heinrich events HE3 and HE2, respectively. By destabilizing the ice sheets on the shelves the warmings may have played a crucial role for the development of Heinrich events HE2 and HE3.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Paleoceanography 23 (2008): PA1201, doi:10.1029/2007PA001453.