Links between eastern equatorial Pacific stratification and atmospheric CO2 rise during the last deglaciation

TitleLinks between eastern equatorial Pacific stratification and atmospheric CO2 rise during the last deglaciation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBova S.C, Herbert T., Rosenthal Y., Kalansky J., Altabet M., Chazen C., Mojarro A., Zech J.
Date Published2015/11
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0883-8305
Accession NumberWOS:000368908900001
Keywords13-degrees-c water; antarctic mode water; climate-change; geochemical tracers; glacial termination; intermediate; oxygen-isotope records; sea-surface temperature; southern-ocean; tropical pacific; water

It is difficult to untangle the mixed influences of high-and low-latitude climate forcing in the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP). Here we test the hypothesis that the Southern Ocean drove change in the EEP via subsurface intermediate waters during the last deglaciation. We use the delta O-18 signature of benthic foraminifera to reconstruct water density changes during the last 25 kyr at three intermediate water depths (370 m, 600 m, and 1000 m) in the EEP. Carbonate delta O-18 records a combined signature of temperature and salinity and is therefore more closely related to density than temperature or salinity alone. We find that benthic foraminiferal delta O-18 values decreased first in the subsurface, simultaneously with rising temperatures over Antarctica, and propagated up to the surface within similar to 3 kyr. The early subsurface response initiated a rapid decrease in density stratification over the upper water column as indicated by reduced delta O-18 gradients between surface and intermediate depths. Stratification of the upper water column remained low through the termination, with stratification minima reached during Heinrich Stadial 1 and the Younger Dryas (YD), synchronous with the two-part deglacial rise in atmospheric CO2. Centennial-scale shifts toward heavier delta O-18 signatures at 370 and 600m during the YD indicate short-lived shifts in the Subantarctic Mode Water/Antarctic Intermediate Water boundary to shallower intermediate depths. We suggest that decreased density gradients during the deglaciation accelerated vertical mixing across the EEP, and potentially the entire South Pacific subtropical gyre, which enhanced CO2 delivery from depth to the surface ocean and atmosphere.

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