166 results found
Struve T, Wilson DJ, Hines SKV, et al., 2022, A deep Tasman outflow of Pacific waters during the last glacial period, Nature Communications, Vol: 13, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2041-1723
The interoceanic exchange of water masses is modulated by flow through key oceanic choke points in the Drake Passage, the Indonesian Seas, south of Africa, and south of Tasmania. Here, we use the neodymium isotope signature (εNd) of cold-water coral skeletons from intermediate depths (1460‒1689 m) to trace circulation changes south of Tasmania during the last glacial period. The key feature of our dataset is a long-term trend towards radiogenic εNd values of ~−4.6 during the Last Glacial Maximum and Heinrich Stadial 1, which are clearly distinct from contemporaneous Southern Ocean εNd of ~−7. When combined with previously published radiocarbon data from the same corals, our results indicate that a unique radiogenic and young water mass was present during this time. This scenario can be explained by a more vigorous Pacific overturning circulation that supported a deeper outflow of Pacific waters, including North Pacific Intermediate Water, through the Tasman Sea.
Stokes CR, Abram NJ, Bentley MJ, et al., 2022, Response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past and future climate change, Nature, Vol: 608, Pages: 275-286, ISSN: 0028-0836
The East Antarctic Ice Sheet contains the vast majority of Earth’s glacier ice (about 52 metres sea-level equivalent), but is often viewed as less vulnerable to global warming than the West Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets. However, some regions of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet have lost mass over recent decades, prompting the need to re-evaluate its sensitivity to climate change. Here we review the response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past warm periods, synthesize current observations of change and evaluate future projections. Some marine-based catchments that underwent notable mass loss during past warm periods are losing mass at present but most projections indicate increased accumulation across the East Antarctic Ice Sheet over the twenty-first century, keeping the ice sheet broadly in balance. Beyond 2100, high-emissions scenarios generate increased ice discharge and potentially several metres of sea-level rise within just a few centuries, but substantial mass loss could be averted if the Paris Agreement to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius is satisfied.
Patterson MO, Levy RH, Kulhanek DK, et al., 2022, Sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice sheet to +2 degrees C (SWAIS 2C), Scientific Drilling, Vol: 30, Pages: 101-112, ISSN: 0734-5615
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) presently holds enough ice to raise global sea level by 4.3 m if completely melted. The unknown response of the WAIS to future warming remains a significant challenge for numerical models in quantifying predictions of future sea level rise. Sea level rise is one of the clearest planet-wide signals of human-induced climate change. The Sensitivity of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to a Warming of 2 ∘C (SWAIS 2C) Project aims to understand past and current drivers and thresholds of WAIS dynamics to improve projections of the rate and size of ice sheet changes under a range of elevated greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere as well as the associated average global temperature scenarios to and beyond the +2 ∘C target of the Paris Climate Agreement.Despite efforts through previous land and ship-based drilling on and along the Antarctic margin, unequivocal evidence of major WAIS retreat or collapse and its causes has remained elusive. To evaluate and plan for the interdisciplinary scientific opportunities and engineering challenges that an International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) project along the Siple coast near the grounding zone of the WAIS could offer (Fig. 1), researchers, engineers, and logistics providers representing 10 countries held a virtual workshop in October 2020. This international partnership comprised of geologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, geophysicists, microbiologists, climate and ice sheet modelers, and engineers outlined specific research objectives and logistical challenges associated with the recovery of Neogene and Quaternary geological records from the West Antarctic interior adjacent to the Kamb Ice Stream and at Crary Ice Rise. New geophysical surveys at these locations have identified drilling targets in which new drilling technologies will allow for the recovery of up to 200 m of sediments beneath the ice sheet. Sub-ice-shelf records have so far proven difficult to
Uenzelmann-Neben G, Gohl K, Hochmuth K, et al., 2022, Deep water inflow slowed offshore expansion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet at the Eocene-Oligocene transition, COMMUNICATIONS EARTH & ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 3
Zhang Y, Boer AM, Lunt DJ, et al., 2022, Early Eocene ocean meridional overturning circulation: the roles of atmospheric forcing and strait geometry, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, Vol: 37, Pages: 1-22, ISSN: 2572-4517
Here, we compare the ocean overturning circulation of the early Eocene (47-56 Ma) in eight coupled climate model simulations from the Deep-Time Model Intercomparison Project (DeepMIP), and investigate the causes of the observed inter-model spread. The most common global meridional overturning circulation (MOC) feature of these simulations is the anticlockwise bottom cell, fed by sinking in the Southern Ocean. In the North Pacific, one model (GFDL) displays strong deepwater formation and one model (CESM) shows weak deepwater formation, while in the Atlantic two models show signs of weak intermediate water formation (MIROC and NorESM). The location of the Southern Ocean deepwater formation sites varies among models and relates to small differences in model geometry of the Southern Ocean gateways. Globally, convection occurs in the basins with smallest local freshwater gain from the atmosphere. The global MOC is insensitive to atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 1x (i.e. 280 ppm) to 3x (840ppm) pre-industrial levels. Only two models have simulations with higher CO2 (i.e. CESM and GFDL) and these show divergent responses, with a collapsed and active MOC, respectively, possibly due to differences in spin-up conditions. Combining the multiple model results with available proxy data on abyssal ocean circulation highlights that strong Southern Hemisphere-driven overturning is the most likely feature of the early Eocene. In the North Atlantic, unlike the present day, neither model results nor proxy data suggest deepwater formation in the open ocean during the early Eocene, while the evidence for deepwater formation in the North Pacific remains inconclusive.
Evangelinos D, Escutia C, van de Flierdt T, et al., 2022, Absence of a strong, deep-reaching Antarctic Circumpolar Current zonal flow across the Tasmanian gateway during the Oligocene to early Miocene, Global and Planetary Change, Vol: 208, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 0921-8181
The vigorous eastward flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) connects all major ocean basins and plays a prominent role in the transport of heat, carbon and nutrients around the globe. However, the establishment of a deep circumpolar flow, similar to the present-day ACC, remains controversial thereby obscuring our understanding of its climatic impact. Deciphering the chemical composition of Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) within the ACC can provide critical insights about its development and evolution. Here we present new fossil fish teeth/bone debris neodymium isotope (εNd) records from Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Sites 278 and 274 in the southwest Pacific Ocean, with the aim to trace changes in deep water masses across the Tasmanian Gateway between the early Oligocene and early Miocene (~ 33–22 Ma). Site 274 provides the first Nd isotope record proximal to the Ross Sea during the Oligocene (33.5–23.4 Ma). Its Nd isotope composition shows excursions to very radiogenic values, εNd(t) = −3.1 and εNd(t)= − 3.7, at 33.5 Ma and 23.8 Ma, respectively, in response to major steps in Antarctic ice sheet expansion. A shift to lower, more unradiogenic εNd(t) values between 29.7 and 29.1 Ma is linked to an increased influence of proto-CDW upwelling at the site. In contrast, the Nd isotope record from Site 278 in the southern Emerald Basin shows little variability (εNd(t) = −6.0 to −6.7) throughout the Oligocene and early Miocene (30.9–21.8 Ma). Comparison with published data north of the ACC path, demonstrates the presence of two deep water masses in the South Pacific prior to the inferred onset of the ACC (33–30 Ma), one occupying depths between ~2500 and 3000 m (εNd(t)= ~ −3 to −5) and a deep/bottom water mass (> 3000 m) with a more unradiogenic Nd isotope composition (εNd(t)= ~ −6). Site 278 located close to the proto-polar front (proto-PF)
Pérez LF, De Santis L, McKay RM, et al., 2022, Early and middle Miocene ice sheet dynamics in the Ross Sea: results from integrated core-log-seismic interpretation, GSA Bulletin, Vol: 134, Pages: 348-370, ISSN: 0016-7606
Oscillations in ice sheet extent during early and middle Miocene are intermittently preserved in the sedimentary record from the Antarctic continental shelf, with widespread erosion occurring during major ice sheet advances, and open marine deposition during times of ice sheet retreat. Data from seismic reflection surveys and drill sites from Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Leg 28 and International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 374 located across the present-day middle continental shelf of the central Ross Sea, indicate the presence of expanded early to middle Miocene sedimentary sections. These include the Miocene Climate Optimum (MCO ∼17-14. 6 Ma), and the Middle Miocene Climate Transition (MMCT ∼14.6-13.9 Ma). Here, we correlate drill core records, wireline logs and reflection seismic data to elucidate the depositional architecture of the continental shelf and reconstruct the evolution and variability of dynamic ice sheets in the Ross Sea during the Miocene. Drill-site data are used to constrain seismic isopach maps that document the evolution of different ice sheets and ice caps which influenced sedimentary processes in the Ross Sea through the early to middle Miocene. In the early Miocene, periods of localized advance of the ice margin are revealed by the formation of thick sediment wedges prograding into the basins. At this time, morainal bank complexes are distinguished along the basin margins suggesting sediment supply derived from marine-terminating glaciers. During the MCO, biosiliceous-bearing sediments are regionally mapped within the depocenters of the major sedimentary basin across the Ross Sea, indicative of widespread open marine deposition with reduced glacimarine influence. At the MMCT, a distinct erosive surface is interpreted as representing large-scale marine-based ice sheet advance over most of the Ross Sea paleo-continental shelf. The regional mapping of the seismic
Marschalek J, Zurli L, Talarico F, et al., 2021, A large West Antarctic Ice Sheet explains Early Neogene sea-level amplitude, Nature, Vol: 600, Pages: 450-455, ISSN: 0028-0836
Early to Middle Miocene sea-level oscillations of approximately 40-60 m estimated from far-field records are interpreted to reflect the loss of virtually all East Antarctic ice during peak warmth. This contrasts with ice-sheet model experiments suggesting most terrestrial ice in East Antarctica was retained even during the warmest intervals of the Middle Miocene. Data and model outputs can be reconciled if a large West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) existed and expanded across most of the outer continental shelf during the Early Miocene, accounting for maximum ice-sheet volumes. Here, we provide the earliest geological evidence proving large WAIS expansions occurred during the Early Miocene (~17.72-17.40 Ma). Geochemical and petrographic data show glacimarine sediments recovered at International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Site U1521 in the central Ross Sea derive from West Antarctica, requiring the presence of a WAIS covering most of the Ross Sea continental shelf. Seismic, lithological and palynological data reveal the intermittent proximity of grounded ice to Site U1521. The erosion rate calculated from this sediment package greatly exceeds the long-term mean, implying rapid erosion of West Antarctica. This interval therefore captures a key step in the genesis of a marine-based WAIS and a tipping point in Antarctic ice-sheet evolution.
Little SH, Wilson DJ, Rehkämper M, et al., 2021, Cold-water corals as archives of seawater Zn and Cu isotopes, Chemical Geology, Vol: 578, Pages: 1-20, ISSN: 0009-2541
Traditional carbonate sedimentary archives have proven challenging to exploit for Zn and Cu isotopes, due to the high concentrations of trace metals in potential contaminants (e.g., Fe-Mn coatings) and their low concentrations in carbonate. Here, we present the first dataset of δ66ZnJMC-Lyon and δ65CuSRM 976 values for cold-water corals and address their potential as a seawater archive. Extensive cleaning experiments carried out on two corals with well-developed Fe-Mn rich coatings demonstrate that thorough physical and chemical cleaning can effectively remove detrital and authigenic contaminants. Next, we present metal/Ca ratios and δ66Zn and δ65Cu values for a geographically diverse sample set of Holocene age cold-water corals. Comparing cold-water coral δ66Zn values to estimated ambient seawater δ66Zn values (where Δ66Zncoral-sw = δ66Zncoral – δ66Znseawater), we find Δ66Zncoral-sw = +0.03 ± 0.17‰ (1SD, n = 20). Hence, to a first order, cold-water corals record seawater Zn isotope compositions without fractionation. The average Holocene coral Cu isotope composition is +0.59 ± 0.23‰ (1SD, n = 15), similar to the mean of published deep seawater δ65Cu values at +0.66 ± 0.09‰, but with considerable variability. Finally, δ66Zn and δ65Cu data are presented for a small subset of four glacial-age corals. These values overlap with the respective Holocene coral datasets, hinting at limited glacial-interglacial changes in oceanic Zn and Cu cycling.
Robinson S, Ivanovic R, van de Flierdt T, et al., 2021, Global continental and marine detrital εNd: an updated compilation for use in understanding marine Nd cycling, Chemical Geology, Vol: 567, Pages: 1-20, ISSN: 0009-2541
Understanding the role of sediment-water interactions in the oceanic cycling of neodymium (Nd) isotopes is essential for its reliable use as a modern and palaeoceanographic tracer of ocean circulation. However, the exact processes that control Nd cycling in the ocean are poorly defined and require an up-to-date knowledge of the sources, sinks and transformation of this tracer to and within the ocean (e.g. as per the GEOTRACES core mission). We propose a considerable improvement of Nd-source identification by providing an extensive and up-to-date compilation of published terrestrial and marine sedimentary Nd isotopic measurements. From this database, we construct high resolution, gridded, global maps that characterise the Nd-isotopic signature of the continental margins and seafloor sediment. Here, we present the database, interpolation methods, and final data products. Consistent with the previous studies that inform our compilation, our global results show unradiogenic detrital Nd isotopic values (εNd ≈ -20) in the North Atlantic, εNd values of ≈ -12 to -7 in the Indian and Southern Ocean, and radiogenic values (εNd ≈ -3 to +4) in the Pacific. The new, high-resolution interpolation is useful for improving conceptual knowledge of Nd sources and sinks and enables the application of isotope-enabled ocean models to understand targeted Nd behaviour in the oceans. Such applications may include: examining the strength and distribution of a possible benthic flux required to reconcile global Nd budgets, establishing the potential use of Nd isotopes as a kinematic tracer of ocean circulation, and a general quantification of the non-conservative sedimentary processes that may contribute to marine Nd cycling.
Noble TL, Rohling EJ, Aitken ARA, et al., 2020, The sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a changing climate: Past, present and future, Reviews of Geophysics, Vol: 58, Pages: 1-89, ISSN: 8755-1209
The Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is out of equilibrium with the current anthropogenic‐enhanced climate forcing. Paleo‐environmental records and ice sheet models reveal that the AIS has been tightly coupled to the climate system during the past, and indicate the potential for accelerated and sustained Antarctic ice mass loss into the future. Modern observations by contrast suggest that the AIS has only just started to respond to climate change in recent decades. The maximum projected sea level contribution from Antarctica to 2100 has increased significantly since the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, although estimates continue to evolve with new observational and theoretical advances. This review brings together recent literature highlighting the progress made on the known processes and feedbacks that influence the stability of the AIS. Reducing the uncertainty in the magnitude and timing of the future sea‐level response to AIS change requires a multi‐disciplinary approach that integrates knowledge of the interactions between the ice sheet, solid Earth, atmosphere, and ocean systems, and across timescales of days to millennia. We start by reviewing the processes affecting AIS mass change, from atmospheric and oceanic processes acting on short timescales (days‐decades), through to ice processes acting on intermediate timescales (decades‐centuries) and the response to solid Earth interactions over longer timescales (decades‐millennia). We then review the evidence of AIS changes from the Pliocene to the present, and consider the projections of global sea‐level rise, and their consequences. We highlight priority research areas required to improve our understanding of the processes and feedbacks governing AIS change.
Simoes Pereira P, van de Flierdt T, Hemming SR, et al., 2020, The geochemical and mineralogical fingerprint of West Antarctica’s weak underbelly: Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, Chemical Geology, Vol: 550, ISSN: 0009-2541
The marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is considered the most unstable part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, with particular vulnerability in the Amundsen Sea sector where glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. Far-field sea-level data and ice-sheet models have pointed towards at least one major WAIS disintegration during the Late Quaternary, but direct evidence for past collapse(s) from ice-proximal geological archives remains elusive. In order to facilitate geochemical and mineralogical tracing of the two most important glaciers draining into the Amundsen Sea, i.e. Pine Island Glacier (PIG) and Thwaites Glacier (TG), we here provide the first multi-proxy provenance analysis of 26 seafloor surface sediment samples from Pine Island Bay.Our data show that the fingerprints of detritus delivered by PIG and TG are clearly distinct near the ice-shelf fronts of both ice-stream systems for all grain sizes and proxies investigated. Glacial detritus delivered by PIG is characterised by low εNd values (~−9), high 87Sr/86Sr ratios (~0.728), low smectite content (<10%), and hornblende and biotite grains with Late Permian to Jurassic (170–270 Ma) cooling ages. In contrast, glacigenic detritus delivered by TG is characterised by higher εNd values (~−4), lower 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.714), higher smectite (20%) and kaolinite content (37%), biotite and hornblende grains with 40Ar/39Ar cooling ages of <40 Ma and ~115 Ma, and high content of mafic minerals.The geochemical and mineralogical fingerprints for PIG and TG reported here provide novel insights into sub-ice geology and allow us to trace both drainage systems in the geological past, under environmental conditions more similar to those envisioned in the next 50 to 100 years.
Stichel T, Kretschmer S, Geibert W, et al., 2020, Particle-seawater interaction of neodymium in the North Atlantic, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, Vol: 4, Pages: 1700-1717, ISSN: 2472-3452
Dissolved neodymium (Nd) isotopes (expressed as εNd) have been widely used as a water mass tracer in paleoceanography. However, one aspect of the modern biogeochemical cycle of Nd that has been sparsely investigated is the interplay between dissolved and particulate phases in seawater. We here present the first regional data set on particulate Nd isotope compositions (εNdp) and concentrations ([Nd]p) from five stations in the western North Atlantic Ocean along the GEOTRACES GA02 transect, in conjunction with previously published dissolved Nd isotope compositions (εNdd) and concentrations ([Nd]d)1. Key observations and interpretations from our new particulate data set include the following: (1) A low fractional contributions of [Nd]p to the total Nd inventory per volume unit of seawater (~5%), with significant increases of up to 45% in benthic boundary layers. (2) Increasing Nd concentrations in suspended particulate matter ([Nd]SPM) and fractions of lithogenic material with water depth, suggesting the removal of Nd poor phases. (3) Different provenances of particulates in the subpolar and subtropical gyres as evidenced by their Nd isotope fingerprints reaching from εNdp ≈ -20 near the Labrador Basin (old continental crust), over εNdp ≈ -4 between Iceland and Greenland (young mafic provenance), to values of εNdp ≈-13 in the subtropics (similar to African dust signal). (4) Vertical heterogeneity of εNdp, as well as large deviations from ambient seawater values in the subpolar gyre, indicate advection of lithogenic particles in this area. (5) Vertically homogenous εNdp values in the subtropical gyre, indistinguishable from εNdd values, are indicative of predominance of vertical particulate supply. The process of reversible scavenging only seems to influence particulate signatures below 3 km. Overall, we do not find evidence on enhanced particle dissolution, often invoked to explai
Wilson DJ, Struve T, van de Flierdt T, et al., 2020, Sea-ice control on deglacial lower cell circulation changes recorded by Drake Passage deep-sea corals, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 544, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0012-821X
The sequence of deep ocean circulation changes between the Last Glacial Maximum and the Holocene provides important insights for understanding deglacial climate change and the role of the deep ocean in the global carbon cycle. Although it is known that significant amounts of carbon were sequestered in a deep overturning cell during glacial periods and released during deglaciation, the driving mechanisms for these changes remain unresolved. Southern Ocean sea-ice has recently been proposed to play a critical role in setting the global deep ocean stratification and circulation, and hence carbon storage, but testing such conceptual and modelling studies requires data constraining past circulation changes. To this end, we present the first deglacial dataset of neodymium (Nd) isotopes measured on absolute-dated deep-sea corals from modern Lower Circumpolar Deep Water depths in the Drake Passage. Our record demonstrates deglacial variability of 2.5 εNd units, with radiogenic values of up to εNd = -5.9 during the Last Glacial Maximum providing evidence for a stratified glacial circulation mode with restricted incorporation of Nd from North Atlantic Deep Water in the lower cell. During the deglaciation, a renewed Atlantic influence in the deep Southern Ocean is recorded early in Heinrich Stadial 1, coincident with Antarctic sea-ice retreat, and is followed by a brief return to more Pacific-like values during the Antarctic Cold Reversal. These changes demonstrate a strong influence of Southern Ocean processes in setting deep ocean circulation and support the proposed sea-ice control on deep ocean structure. Furthermore, by constraining the Nd isotopic composition of Lower Circumpolar Deep Water in the Southern Ocean, our new data is important for interpreting deglacial circulation changes in other ocean basins and supports a spatially asynchronous return of North Atlantic Deep Water to the deep southeast and southwest Atlantic Ocean.
Evangelinos D, Escutia C, Etourneau J, et al., 2020, Late Oligocene-Miocene proto-Antarctic Circumpolar Current dynamics off the Wilkes Land margin, East Antarctica, Global and Planetary Change, Vol: 191, ISSN: 0921-8181
At present, the Southern Ocean plays an important role in the global climate system and in modern Antarctic ice sheet dynamics. Past Southern Ocean configurations are however poorly understood. This information is yet important as it may provide important insights into the climate system and past ice-sheet behavior under warmer than present day climates. Here we study Southern Ocean dynamics during the Oligocene and Miocene when reconstructed atmospheric CO2 concentrations were similar to those expected during this century. We reconstruct snapshots of late Oligocene to earliest Miocene (~24.2–23 Ma) paleoceanographic conditions in the East Antarctic Wilkes Land abyssal plain. For this, we combine marine sedimentological, geochemical (X-ray fluorescence, TEX86,), palynological and isotopic (εNd) records from ocean sediments recovered at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 269. Overall, we find that sediments, delivered to the site by gravity flows and hemipelagic settling during glacial-interglacial cycles, were persistently reworked by a proto-Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) with varying strengths that result from climatically controlled frontal system migrations. Just prior to 24 Ma, terrigenous input of predominantly fine-grained sediments deposited under weak proto-CDW intensities and poorly ventilated bottom conditions dominates. In comparison, 24 Ma marks the start of episodic events of enhanced proto-CDW current velocities, associated with coarse-grained deposits and better-ventilated bottom conditions. In particular, the dominance of P-cyst and low Calcium (Ca) in the sediments between ~ 24.2 Ma and 23.6 Ma indicate the presence of an active open ocean upwelling associated with high nutrient conditions. This is supported by TEX86-derived sea surface temperature (SST) data pointing to cool ocean conditions. From ~ 23.6 to 23.2 Ma, our records reveal an enrichment of Ca in the sediments related to increased calcareous microfossil preservation, high
Griffiths A, Packman H, Leung YL, et al., 2020, Evaluation of optimized procedures for high-precision Pb isotope analyses of seawater by MC-ICP-MS, Analytical Chemistry, Vol: 92, Pages: 11232-11241, ISSN: 0003-2700
The application of Pb isotopes to marine geochemistry is currently hindered by challenges associated with the analysis of Pb isotopes in seawater. The current study evaluates the performance of MC-ICP-MS measurements of seawater Pb isotope compositions following Pb separation by either solid-phase extraction with Nobias Chelate PA-1 resin or co-precipitation with Mg(OH)2, and using either a Pb double-spike or external normalization to Tl for mass bias correction. The four analytical combinations achieve results of similar quality when measuring 1–7 ng of seawater Pb, with reproducibilities (2SD) of 100–1200 ppm for 206Pb/207Pb, 208Pb/207Pb and 300–1700 ppm for ratios involving the minor 204Pb isotope. All four procedures enable significantly improved sample throughout compared to an established TIMS double-spike method and produce unbiased seawater Pb isotope compositions with similar or improved precision. Nobias extraction is preferable to co-precipitation due to its greater analytical throughput and suitability for analyses of large seawater samples with high Si(OH)4 contents. The most accurate Pb isotope data are produced following Nobias extraction and double-spike correction as such analyses are least susceptible to matrix effects. However, Nobias extraction with Tl-normalization constitutes an attractive alternative as, unlike the double-spike procedure, only a single mass spectrometric measurement is required, which improves analytical throughput and optimizes Pb consumption for analysis. Despite the advantages of solid-phase extraction, co-precipitation represents a useful Pb separation technique for samples with low to moderate Si contents as it is inexpensive, simple to implement and the data are only marginally less accurate, especially when combined with a Pb double-spike for mass bias correction.
Siegert M, Haywood A, Lunt D, et al., 2020, What ancient climates tell us about high carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere, What ancient climates tell us about high carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere, http://www.imperial.ac.uk/grantham, Publisher: The Grantham Institute, Briefing note 13
This briefing discusses the last time our planet had the same levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it does today, and what environmental conditions were like then. Studying the geology from this and earlier periods tells us that global temperatures may rise by over 10°C if we keep emitting carbon dioxide as forecast for the next 80 years. The paper explains how, to avoid this catastrophic climate, the world must cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest.
Klages JP, Salzmann U, Bickert T, et al., 2020, Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth, Nature, Vol: 580, Pages: 81-86, ISSN: 0028-0836
The mid -Cretaceous was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years31(Myr)1–5 driven by atmospheric CO2 levels around 1000 ppmv6. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it remains disputed whether polar ice could exist under such environmental conditions. Here we present results from a unique sedimentary sequence recovered from the West Antarctic shelf. This by far southernmost Cretaceous record contains an intact ~3 m-long network of in-situ fossil roots. The roots are embedded in a mudstone matrix bearing diverse pollen and spores, indicative of a temperate lowland rainforest environment at a palaeolatitude of ~82°S during the Turonian–Santonian (92–83 M yr). A climate model simulation shows that the reconstructed temperate climate at this high latitude requires a combination of both atmospheric CO2 contents of 1120–1680 ppmv and a vegetated land surface without major Antarctic glaciation, highlighting the important cooling effect exerted by ice albedo in high-CO2 climate world
Struve T, Wilson DJ, van de Flierdt T, et al., 2020, Middle Holocene expansion of Pacific Deep Water into the Southern Ocean, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol: 117, Pages: 889-894, ISSN: 0027-8424
The Southern Ocean is a key region for the overturning and mixing of water masses within the global ocean circulation system. Because Southern Ocean dynamics are influenced by the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds (SWW), changes in the westerly wind forcing could significantly affect the circulation and mixing of water masses in this important location. While changes in SWW forcing during the Holocene (i.e., the last ∼11,700 y) have been documented, evidence of the oceanic response to these changes is equivocal. Here we use the neodymium (Nd) isotopic composition of absolute-dated cold-water coral skeletons to show that there have been distinct changes in the chemistry of the Southern Ocean water column during the Holocene. Our results reveal a pronounced Middle Holocene excursion (peaking ∼7,000–6,000 y before present), at the depth level presently occupied by Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW), toward Nd isotope values more typical of Pacific waters. We suggest that poleward-reduced SWW forcing during the Middle Holocene led to both reduced Southern Ocean deep mixing and enhanced influx of Pacific Deep Water into UCDW, inducing a water mass structure that was significantly different from today. Poleward SWW intensification during the Late Holocene could then have reinforced deep mixing along and across density surfaces, thus enhancing the release of accumulated CO2 to the atmosphere.
Struve T, Wilson DJ, van de Flierdt T, et al., 2019, Mid-holocene expansion of Pacific deep water into the Southern Ocean, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, ISSN: 0027-8424
The Southern Ocean is a key region for the overturning and mixing of water masses within the global ocean circulation system. Because Southern Ocean dynamics are influenced by the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds (SWW), changes in the westerly wind forcing could significantly affect the circulation and mixing of water masses in this important location. While changes in SWW forcing during the Holocene (i.e. the last ~11,700 years) have been documented, evidence of the oceanic response to these changes is equivocal. Here we use the neodymium (Nd) isotopic composition of absolute-dated cold-water coral skeletons to show that there have been distinct changes in the chemistry of the Southern Ocean water column during the Holocene. Our results reveal a pronounced mid-Holocene excursion (peaking around ~7000 to 6000 years before present), at the depth level presently occupied by Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW), towards Nd isotope values more typical of Pacific waters. We suggest that poleward-reduced SWW forcing during the mid-Holocene led to both reduced Southern Ocean deep mixing and enhanced influx of Pacific Deep Water into UCDW, inducing a water mass structure that was significantly different from today. Poleward SWW intensification during the late Holocene could then have reinforced deep mixing along and across density surfaces, thus enhancing the release of accumulated CO2 to the atmosphere.
Blaser P, Frank M, van de Flierdt T, 2019, Revealing past ocean circulation with neodymium isotopes, Past Global Changes Magazine, Vol: 27, ISSN: 2411-605X
Xie RC, Rehkamper M, Grasse P, et al., 2019, Isotopic evidence for complex biogeochemical cycling of Cd in the eastern tropical South Pacific (vol 512, 134, 2019), EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, Vol: 524, ISSN: 0012-821X
Pratt N, Chen T, Li T, et al., 2019, Temporal distribution and diversity of cold-water corals in the southwest Indian Ocean over the past 25,000 years, Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, Vol: 149, ISSN: 0967-0637
Fossil cold-water corals can be used to reconstruct physical, chemical, and biological changes in the ocean because their skeleton often preserves ambient seawater signatures. Furthermore, patterns in the geographic and temporal extent of cold-water corals have changed through time in response to environmental conditions. Here we present taxonomic and dating results from a new collection of subfossil cold-water corals recovered from seamounts of the Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge. The area is a dynamic hydrographic region characterised by eastward flow of the Agulhas Return Current and the northernmost fronts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. In total, 122 solitary scleractinian corals and 27 samples of colonial scleractinian material were collected from water depths between 172 and 1395 m, corresponding to subtropical waters, Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), and Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW). Fifteen species were identified, including eight species new to the region. The assemblage reflects the position of the seamounts in a transition zone between Indo-Pacific and Subantarctic biogeographic zones. Morphological variation in caryophyllids and the restriction of dendrophylliids to the southern seamounts could result from genetic isolation or reflect environmental conditions. Uranium-series dating using both rapid laser ablation and precise isotope dilution methods reveals their temporal distribution from the Last Glacial Maximum to the present day. Only one specimen of glacial age was found, while peaks in abundance occur around Heinrich Stadial 1 and the Younger Dryas, times at which ocean chemistry and food supply were likely to have presented optimal conditions for cold-water corals. A widespread regional preference of cold-water corals for UCDW over AAIW depths during the deglacial, the reverse of the modern situation, could be explained by higher dissolved oxygen concentrations and a temperature inversion that persisted into the early Holocene.
Xie RC, Rehkamper M, Grasse P, et al., 2019, Isotopic evidence for complex biogeochemical cycling of Cd in the eastern tropical South Pacific, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 512, Pages: 134-146, ISSN: 0012-821X
Over the past decades, observations have confirmed decreasing oxygen levels and shoaling of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) in the tropical oceans. Such changes impact the biogeochemical cycling of micronutrients such as Cd, but the potential consequences are only poorly constrained. Here, we present seawater Cd concentrations and isotope compositions for 12 depth profiles at coastal, nearshore and offshore stations from 4ºS to 14ºS in the eastern tropical South Pacific, where one of the world’s strongest OMZs prevails.The depth profiles of Cd isotopes display high δ114/110 Cd at the surface and decreasing δ114/110 Cd with increasing water depth, consistent with preferential utilization of lighter Cd isotopes during biological uptake in the euphotic zone and subsequent remineralization of the sinking biomass. In the surface and subsurface ocean, seawater displays similar δ114/110 Cd signatures of 0.47 ±0.23‰ to 0.82±0.05‰ across the entire eastern tropical South Pacific despite highly variable Cd concentrations between 0.01 and 0.84 nmol/kg. This observation, best explained by an open system steady-state fractionation model, contrasts with previous studies of the South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans, where only Cd-deficient waters have a relatively constant Cd isotope signature. For the subsurface to about 500 m depth, the variability of seawater Cd isotope compositions can be modeled by mixing of remineralized Cd with subsurface water from the base of the mixed layer. In the intermediate and deep eastern tropical South Pacific (>500 m), seawater [Cd] and δ114/110 Cd appear to follow the distribution and mixing of major water masses. We identified modified AAIW of the ETSP to be more enriched in [Cd] than AAIW from the source region, whilst both water masses have similar δ114/110 Cd. A mass balance estimate thus constrains a δ114/110 Cd of between 0.38‰ and 0.56‰ for the
Dziadek R, Gohl K, Kaul N, et al., 2019, Elevated geothermal surface heat flow in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, Vol: 506, Pages: 530-539, ISSN: 0012-821X
Chase Z, Ellwood MJ, van de Flierdt T, 2018, Discovering the ocean's past through geochemistry, Elements, Vol: 14, Pages: 397-402, ISSN: 1811-5209
Trace elements and isotopes underlie many of the proxies used to reconstruct past ocean conditions. These proxies, recorded in diverse archives, are used to reconstruct seawater properties such as temperature, pH, and oxygen, or oceanic processes such as circulation, nutrient uptake, and biological productivity. Proxy calibration and validation requires a combination of ocean sediment core-top measurements, sediment trap studies, and laboratory- or field-based observations. New measurements of proxies in the modern ocean are rapidly illuminating the scope and limitations of each proxy while also helping to identify and evaluate new geochemical proxies that are based on trace elements and their isotopes.
Lambelet M, van de Flierdt T, Butler ECV, et al., 2018, The neodymium isotope fingerprint of Adélie coast bottom water, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 45, Pages: 11247-11256, ISSN: 0094-8276
Adélie Land Bottom Water (ALBW), a variety of Antarctic Bottom Water formed off the Adélie Land coast of East Antarctica, ventilates the abyssal layers of the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean as well as the eastern Indian and Pacific Oceans. We present the first dissolved neodymium (Nd) isotope and concentration measurements for ALBW. The summertime signature of ALBW is characterized by εNd = −8.9, distinct from Ross Sea Bottom Water, and similar to Weddell Sea Bottom Water. Adélie Land Shelf Water, the precursor water mass for wintertime ALBW, features the least radiogenic Nd fingerprint observed around Antarctica to date (εNd = −9.9). Local geology around Antarctica is important in setting the chemical signature of individual varieties of Antarctic Bottom Water, evident from the shelf water signature, which should be considered in the absence of direct wintertime observations.
McKay R, Exon N, Mueller D, et al., 2018, Developing community-based scientific priorities and new drilling proposals in the southern Indian and southwestern Pacific oceans, Scientific Drilling, Vol: 24, Pages: 61-70, ISSN: 1816-8957
An International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) workshop was held at Sydney University, Australia, from 13 to 16 June 2017 and was attended by 97 scientists from 12 countries. The aim of the workshop was to investigate future drilling opportunities in the eastern Indian Ocean, southwestern Pacific Ocean, and the Indian and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean. The overlying regional sedimentary strata are underexplored relative to their Northern Hemisphere counterparts, and thus the role of the Southern Hemisphere in past global environmental change is poorly constrained. A total of 23 proposal ideas were discussed, with ∼ 12 of these deemed mature enough for active proposal development or awaiting scheduled site survey cruises. Of the remaining 11 proposals, key regions were identified where fundamental hypotheses are testable by drilling, but either site surveys are required or hypotheses need further development. Refinements are anticipated based upon regional IODP drilling in 2017/2018, analysis of recently collected site survey data, and the development of site survey proposals. We hope and expect that this workshop will lead to a new phase of scientific ocean drilling in the Australasian region in the early 2020s.
Pant NC, Jimenez-Espejo FJ, Cook CP, et al., 2018, Suspected meteorite fragments in marine sediments from East Antarctica, ANTARCTIC SCIENCE, Vol: 30, Pages: 307-321, ISSN: 0954-1020
Wilson DJ, Bertram R, Needham E, et al., 2018, Ice loss from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet during late Pleistocene interglacials, Nature, Vol: 561, Pages: 383-386, ISSN: 0028-0836
Understanding ice sheet behaviour in the geological past is essential for evaluating the role of the cryosphere in the climate system and for projecting rates and magnitudes of sea level rise in future warming scenarios1,2,3,4. Although both geological data5,6,7 and ice sheet models3,8 indicate that marine-based sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet were unstable during Pliocene warm intervals, the ice sheet dynamics during late Pleistocene interglacial intervals are highly uncertain3,9,10. Here we provide evidence from marine sedimentological and geochemical records for ice margin retreat or thinning in the vicinity of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin of East Antarctica during warm late Pleistocene interglacial intervals. The most extreme changes in sediment provenance, recording changes in the locus of glacial erosion, occurred during marine isotope stages 5, 9, and 11, when Antarctic air temperatures11 were at least two degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial temperatures for 2,500 years or more. Hence, our study indicates a close link between extended Antarctic warmth and ice loss from the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, providing ice-proximal data to support a contribution to sea level from a reduced East Antarctic Ice Sheet during warm interglacial intervals. While the behaviour of other regions of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet remains to be assessed, it appears that modest future warming may be sufficient to cause ice loss from the Wilkes Subglacial Basin.
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