Mg to Ca ratios of the epibenthic foraminifer species Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi have been identified to be strongly controlled by temperature and thus to have great potential for reconstructing bottom water temperatures, especially from the lower end of the temperature range (0-6°C; Tisserand et al., 2013). In the Fram Strait, where main water mass exchanges between the Arctic Ocean and the world’s oceans occur, new temperature estimation tools independent from faunal assemblages can help to better understand the complex interaction of different water masses with possible implications to changes in the meridional overturning circulation and the heat flux to the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, Mg/Ca temperatures can help unravelling the local impact (e.g., of brine-enriched waters) from general trends in bottom water circulation.
In order to apply Mg/Ca-derived temperatures to paleo-records from the Fram Strait, a calibration relationship between modern Mg/Ca ratios to bottom water temperatures which fits the environmental conditions of the Fram Strait needs to be developed. We therefore studied Mg/Ca ratios of C. wuellerstorfi in a set of coretop samples from the Fram Strait and the Norwegian margin where bottom temperatures range between -0.5 and -1°C. For the calibration to modern temperatures, we used modern oceanographic data from both existing conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts and the World Ocean Data Base 2013 (Boyer et. al., 2013). Benthic Mg/Ca ratios are relatively high suggesting a preference of C. wuellerstorfi to incorporate Mg at temperatures below 0°C. Although no correlation has been found to existing temperature calibrations using higher temperature ranges (0-6°C), the data are in line with existing Mg/Ca data from C. wuellerstorfi from the Norwegian Sea and the Fram Strait (Martin et al., 2002; Elderfield et al., 2006).While correlation between Mg/Ca ratios to either temperature or salinity is difficult to constrain, better correlation exists to water depth. We therefore consider the carbonate ion effect as one possible explanation for the relatively high Mg/Ca ratios found in coretop samples from the Fram Strait and the Nordic Seas.
Despite the difficulties to constrain a temperature calibration for this low temperature range down to -1°C, variations in benthic Mg/Ca ratios investigated in Holocene records from the eastern Fram Strait display trends similar to those found in other benthic proxy indicators. A short-lived decrease in benthic carbon isotopes and sortable silt mean grain size thus seems to correlate to lower Mg/Ca ratios during the 8.2 ka event. Also, a Late Holocene trend towards significantly higher benthic oxygen isotopes may be related to decreasing Mg/Ca ratios.
Boyer, T.P., Antonov, J.I., Baranova, O.K., Coleman, C., Garcia, H.E., Grodsky, A., Johnson, D.R., Locarnini, R.A., Mishonov, A.V., O'Brien, T.D., Paver, C.R., Reagan, J.R., Seidov, D., Smolyar, I.V., Zweng, M.M. 2013.
World Ocean Database 2013. Sydney Levitus, Ed., Alexey Mishonov, Technical Ed., NOAA Atlas NESDIS 72. 209 pp.
Elderfield, H., Yu, J., Anand, P., Kiefer, T., Nyland, B. 2006. Calibrations for benthic foraminiferal Mg/Ca paleothermometry and the carbonate ion hypothesis. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 250, 633-649.
Martin, P.A., Lea, D.W., Rosenthal, Y., Shackleton, N., Sarnthein, M., Papenfuss, T. 2002. Quaternary deep sea temperature histories derived from benthic foraminiferal Mg/Ca. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 198, 193-209.
Tisserand, A.A., Dokken, T.M., Waelbroeck, C., Gherardi, J.-M., Scao, V., Fontanier, C., Jorissen, F. 2013. Refining benthic foraminiferal Mg/Ca-temperature calibrations using core-tops from the western tropical Atlantic: Implication for paleotemperature estimation. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14(4), 929-946.
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