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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2014-09-03
    Description: Throughout the transition from the last Glacial to the current Interglacial, rising atmospheric CO2 levels were accompanied by declining atmospheric Δ14C values. A likely mechanism, influencing both components is the deglacial release of CO2, stored for millennia in the deep Ocean, to the atmosphere. Due to its long residence time within the oceans interior this CO2 rich water mass was considerably depleted in radiocarbon. Although a large number of studies address this topic, the extent, location and pathways of the glacial carbon pool are still subjects of an ongoing debate. As deep water masses are upwelled and new intermediate waters are formed around Antarctica, the Southern Ocean is a potential area for the deglacial release of stored CO2. Here we present radiocarbon and carbonate ion data from a transect of sediment cores off New Zealand that covers the major water masses in this area, from the AAIW down to the AABW. During the Glacial, our data locate a significantly 14C depleted pool in a water depth between 2000 and 4500 m. The combination of Δ14C and [CO32-] records provides new insights into the process of oceanic-atmospheric CO2 exchange in the Southern Ocean. In addition, our results yield new implications for contradicting Δ14C records from the Southern Ocean and lower latitudes.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-08-10
    Description: High-resolution swath bathymetry data collected during several research cruises over the past two decades reveal a palaeo-ice stream trough (Abbot Glacial Trough) crossing the middle and outer shelf of the easternmost Amundsen Sea Embayment, east of the main Pine Island Trough. Regions of both fast palaeo-ice flow (within the central trough) and slow palaeo-ice flow (on adjacent seafloor highs referred to as inter-ice stream ridges) bear glacial landforms indicative of phases of grounding-line stabilization of the ice sheet. We associate a grounding-zone wedge situated within the outer Abbot Glacial Trough with a grounding-zone wedge in outer Pine Island Trough and suggest a synchronous grounding-line halt in both troughs. New sediment echosounder and sediment core data collected from outer Abbot Glacial Trough, between the seaward limit of the grounding-zone wedge and the shelf edge, reveal an up to 6 m-thick well stratified drape that is composed of unconsolidated glaciomarine sediments occasionally bearing calcareous microfossils. In order to decipher whether this unusually thick sediment drape might indicate sub-ice shelf and/or seasonal-open marine deposition throughout or since the Last Glacial Maximum, we used a multi-proxy approach to characterize its lithofacies and applied radiocarbon dating of calcareous microfossils. Here we present our initial results and discuss since when the outer shelf in the eastern Amundsen Sea has been free of grounded-ice. Such information will 1) improve ice sheet models that aim to reconstruct the flow and extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum, 2) help to quantify the ice volume of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during this time, and 3) prove or reject the possibility that Antarctic benthic biota endured glacial periods in outer shelf refugia.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2015-04-07
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2016-01-10
    Description: To understand the whereabouts of CO2 during glacials and its pathways during deglacial transitions is one of the main priorities in paleoclimate research. The opposing patterns of atmospheric CO2 and Δ14C suggest that the bulk of CO2 was released from an old and therefore 14C-depleted carbon reservoir. As the modern deep ocean, below ~2000 m, stores up to 60-times more carbon than the entire atmosphere, it is considered to be a major driver of the atmospheric CO2 pattern, storing CO2 during glacials, releasing it during deglacial transitions. We use a South Pacific transect of sediment cores, covering the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), the Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW) and the Lower Circumpolar Deep Water (LCDW), to reconstruct the spatio-temporal evolution of oceanic Δ14C over the last 30,000 years. During the last glacial, we find significantly 14C-depleted waters between 2000 and 4300 m water depth, indicating a strong stratification and the storage of carbon in these water masses. However, two sediment cores from 2500 m and 3600 m water depth reveal an extreme glacial atmosphere-to-deep-water Δ14C offset of up to -1000‰ and ventilation ages (deep-water to atmosphere 14C-age difference) of ~8000 years. Such old water masses are expected to be anoxic, yet there is no evidence of anoxia in the glacial S-Pacific. Recent studies showed an increase of Mid Ocean Ridge (MOR) volcanism during glacials due to the low stand of global sea level. For this reason, we hypothesize that the admixture of 14C-dead carbon via tectonic activity along MORs might have contributed to these extremely low radiocarbon values. With a simple 1-box model, we calculated if the admixture of hydrothermal CO2 has the potential to lower the deep Pacific Δ14C signal. We show that if the oceanic turnover time is at least 2700 years, an increased hydrothermal flux of 1.2 µmol kg-1 yr-1 has the potential to reproduce the extreme radiocarbon values observed in our records.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Conference , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-08-10
    Description: Grounding-zone wedges (GZW) have been mapped on many of the formerly glaciated continental shelves around Antarctica. These GZWs record periods of grounding-line (GL) stillstand during general ice-sheet retreat following the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 26-19 ka BP; kiloyears before present). The presence of GZWs along the axis of a palaeo-ice stream trough therefore indicates a style of episodic GL retreat during the migration from its initial position at the LGM to its modern position. However, precise chronological constraints for both the onset and duration of these stillstands are still lacking. Consequently, the role of GZW formation in modulating post-LGM ice-sheet retreat, and therefore ice-sheet stability cannot be reliably quantified. Additionally, this information is also vital for calculating reliable retreat rates during the past, which are essential for evaluating and understanding the significance of modern, locally very high retreat rates of glaciers draining into the Amundsen Sea Embayment.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-08-10
    Description: We present the first age control and sedimentological data for the upper part of a stratified seismic unit that is unusually thick (~6-9 m) for the outer shelf of the ASE and overlies an acoustically transparent unit. The transparent unit probably consists of soft till deposited during the last advance of grounded ice onto the outer shelf. We mapped subtle mega-scale glacial lineations (MSGL) on the seafloor and suggest that these are probably the expressions of bedforms originally moulded into the surface of the underlying till layer. We note that the lineations are less distinct when compared to MSGLs recorded in bathymetric data collected further upstream and suggest that this is because of the blanketing influence of the thick overlying drape. The uppermost part (≤ 3 m) of the stratified drape was sampled by two of our sediment cores and contains sufficient amounts of calcareous foraminifera throughout to establish reliable age models by radiocarbon dating. In combination with facies analysis of the recovered sediments the obtained radiocarbon dates suggest deposition of the draping unit in a sub-ice shelf/sub-sea ice to seasonal-open marine environment that existed on the outer shelf from well before the Last Glacial Maximum (〉45 ka BP) until today. This indicates the maximum extent of grounded ice at the LGM must have been situated south of the two core locations, where a well-defined grounding-zone wedge (‘GZWa’) was deposited. The third sediment core was recovered from the toe of this wedge and retrieved grounding-line proximal glaciogenic debris flow sediments that were deposited by ~14 cal. ka BP. Our new data therefore provide direct evidence for 1) the maximum extent of grounded ice in the easternmost ASE at the LGM (=GZWa), 2) the existence of a large shelf area seawards the wedge that was not covered by grounded ice during that time, and 3) landward grounding line retreat from GZWa prior to ~14 cal. ka BP. This knowledge will help to improve LGM ice sheet reconstructions and to quantify precisely the volume of LGM ice-sheet build-up in Antarctica. Our study also alludes to the possibility that refugia for Antarctic shelf benthos may have existed in the ASE during the last glacial period.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-08-10
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2016-05-09
    Description: During the last deglaciation, the opposing patterns of atmospheric CO2 and radiocarbon activities (D14C) suggest the release of 14C-depleted CO2 from old carbon reservoirs. Although evidences point to the deep Pacific as a major reservoir of this 14C-depleted carbon, its extent and evolution still need to be constrained. Here we use sediment cores retrieved along a South Pacific transect to reconstruct the spatio-temporal evolution of D14C over the last 30,000 years. In B2,500–3,600 m water depth, we find 14C-depleted deep waters with a maximum glacial offset to atmospheric 14C (DD14C = -1000 permil). Using a box model, we test the hypothesis that these low values might have been caused by an interaction of aging and hydrothermal CO2 influx. We observe a rejuvenation of circumpolar deep waters synchronous and potentially contributing to the initial deglacial rise in atmospheric CO2. These findings constrain parts of the glacial carbon pool to the deep South Pacific.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-08-10
    Description: Satellite data and in-situ measurements show that today considerable mass loss is occurring from the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The observational record only spans the past four decades, and until recently the long-term context of the current deglaciation was poorly constrained. This information is, however, crucial for understanding WAIS dynamics, evaluating the role of forcing mechanisms for ice-sheet melting, and testing and calibrating ice-sheet models that attempt to predict future WAIS behavior and its impact on global sea level. Over the past decade several multinational marine expeditions and terrestrial fieldwork campaigns have targeted the Amundsen Sea shelf and its hinterland to reconstruct the WAIS configuration during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and its subsequent deglacial history. The resulting studies succeeded in shedding light on the maximum WAIS extent at the LGM and the style, pattern and speed of its retreat and thinning thereafter. Despite this progress, however, significant uncertainties and discrepancies between marine and terrestrial reconstructions remain, which may arise from difficulties in dating sediment cores from the Antarctic shelf, especially their deglacial sections. Resolving these issues is crucial for understanding the WAIS’ contribution to post-LGM sea-level rise, its sensitivity to different forcing mechanisms and its future evolution. Here we present chronological constraints on WAIS advance in the Amundsen Sea and its retreat from ~20 ka BP into the Holocene that were obtained by various techniques, such as 14C dating of large (~10 mg) and small (〈〈1 mg) sample aliquots of calcareous microfossils, 14C dating of acid-insoluble organic matter combusted at low (300 °C) and high (800 °C) temperatures and dating of sediment cores by using geomagnetic paleointensity. We will compare the different age constraints and discuss their reliability, applicability and implications for WAIS history.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-08-10
    Description: Precise knowledge about the extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; c. 26.5–19 cal. ka BP) is important in order to 1) improve paleo-ice sheet reconstructions, 2) provide a robust empirical framework for calibrating paleo-ice sheet models, and 3) locate potential shelf refugia for Antarctic benthos during the last glacial period. However, reliable reconstructions are still lacking for many WAIS sectors, particularly for key areas on the outer continental shelf, where the LGM-ice sheet is assumed to have terminated. In many areas of the outer continental shelf around Antarctica, direct geological data for the presence or absence of grounded ice during the LGM is lacking because of post-LGM iceberg scouring. This also applies to most of the outer continental shelf in the Amundsen Sea. Here we present detailed marine geophysical and new geological data documenting a sequence of glaciomarine sediments up to ~12 m thick within the deep outer portion of Abbot Trough, a palaeo-ice stream trough on the outer shelf of the Amundsen Sea Embayment. The upper 2–3 meters of this sediment drape contain calcareous foraminifera of Holocene and (pre-)LGM age and, in combination with palaeomagnetic age constraints, indicate that continuous glaciomarine deposition persisted here since well before the LGM, possibly even since the last interglacial period. Our data therefore indicate that the LGM grounding line, whose exact location was previously uncertain, did not reach the shelf edge everywhere in the Amundsen Sea. The LGM grounding line position coincides with the crest of a distinct grounding-zone wedge ~100 km inland from the continental shelf edge. Thus, an area of ≥6000 km2 remained free of grounded ice through the last glacial cycle, requiring the LGM grounding line position to be re-located in this sector, and suggesting a new site at which Antarctic shelf benthos may have survived the last glacial period.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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