© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters 389 (2014): 200-208, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.037.
Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) is a key player in the global ocean circulation, contributing to the upper limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and influencing interhemispheric heat exchange and the distribution of salinity, nutrients and carbon. However, the deglacial history of AAIW flow into the North Atlantic is controversial. Here we present a multicore-top neodymium isotope calibration, which confirms the ability of unclean foraminifera to faithfully record bottom water neodymium isotopic composition (εNdεNd) values in their authigenic coatings. We then present the first foraminifera-based reconstruction of εNdεNd from three sediment cores retrieved from within modern AAIW, in the western tropical North Atlantic. Our records reveal similar glacial and interglacial contributions of AAIW, and a pronounced decrease in the AAIW fraction during North Atlantic deglacial cold episodes, Heinrich Stadial 1 (HS1) and Younger Dryas (YD). Our results suggest two separate phases of reduced fraction of AAIW in the tropical Atlantic during HS1, with a greater reduction during early HS1. If a reduction in AAIW fraction also reflects reduced AMOC strength, this finding may explain why, in many regions, there are two phases of hydrologic change within HS1, and why atmospheric CO2 rose more rapidly during early than late HS1. Our result suggesting less flow of AAIW into the Atlantic during North Atlantic cold events contrasts with evidence from the Pacific, where intermediate-depth εNdεNd records may indicate increased flow of AAIW into the Pacific during the these same events. Antiphased εNdεNd behavior between intermediate depths of the North Atlantic and Pacific implies that the flow of AAIW into Atlantic and Pacific seesawed during the last deglaciation.
This work was supported by US NSF grants and a Lawrence J. Pratt and Melinda M. Hall Endowed Fund for Interdisciplinary Research Award to D.W.O. and W.B.C. and by a Taiwan NSC Postdoctoral Fellowship (NSC98-2917-I-564-132) to K.F.H.
Antarctic intermediate water
Atlantic meridional overturning circulation
North Atlantic cold events
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