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Glacial-interglacial circulation changes inferred from 231Pa/ 230Th sedimentary record in the North Atlantic region

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Title: Glacial-interglacial circulation changes inferred from 231Pa/ 230Th sedimentary record in the North Atlantic region
Author: Francois, Roger
Issue Date: 2009
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2012-01-12
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Citation: Gherardi, Jeanne Marie; Labeyrie, Laurent D.; Nave, Silvia; Francois, Roger; McManus, Jerry F.; Cortijo, Elsa. 2009. Glacial-interglacial circulation changes inferred from 231Pa/ 230Th sedimentary record in the North Atlantic region. Paleoceanography, 24(2) PA2204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008PA001696
Abstract: Studies from the subtropical western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, using the 231Pa/230Th ratio as a kinematic proxy for deep water circulation, provided compelling evidence for a strong link between climate and the rate of meridional overturning circulation (MOC) over the last deglaciation. In this study, we present a compilation of existing and new sedimentary 231Pa/230Th records from North Atlantic cores between 1710 and 4550 m water depth. Comparing sedimentary 231Pa/230Th from different depths provides new insights into the evolution of the geometry and rate of deep water formation in the North Atlantic during the last 20,000 years. The 231Pa/230Th ratio measured in upper Holocene sediments indicates slow water renewal above ~2500 m and rapid flushing below, consistent with our understanding of modern circulation. In contrast, during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), Glacial North Atlantic Intermediate Water (GNAIW) drove a rapid overturning circulation to a depth of at least ~3000 m depth. Below ~4000 m, water renewal was much slower than today. At the onset of Heinrich event 1, transport by the overturning circulation declined at all depths. GNAIW shoaled above 3000 m and significantly weakened but did not totally shut down. During the Bølling-Allerød (BA) that followed, water renewal rates further decreased above 2000 m but increased below. Our results suggest for the first time that ocean circulation during that period was quite distinct from the modern circulation mode, with a comparatively higher renewal rate above 3000 m and a lower renewal rate below in a pattern similar to the LGM but less accentuated. MOC during the Younger Dryas appears very similar to BA down to 2000 m and slightly slower below. An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2009 American Geophysical Union.
Affiliation: Earth and Ocean Sciences, Dept. of (EOS), Dept of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/40057
Peer Review Status: Reviewed
Scholarly Level: Faculty

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