Opposite response modes of NADW dynamics to obliquity forcing during the late Paleogene.
ABSTRACT: Although the responses of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) is deeply connected to orbital rhythms, those under different tectonic and atmospheric boundary conditions remain unknown. Here, we report suborbitally resolved benthic foraminiferal stable isotope data from J-anomaly Ridge in the North Atlantic from ca. 26.4-26.0 Ma. Our results indicate that the formation of NADW during that time interval was increased during the obliquity-paced interglacial periods, similar to in the Plio-Pleistocene. During the late Oligocene, the interglacial poleward shifts of the stronger westerlies in the southern hemisphere, which occurred due to the higher thermal contrasts near the upper limit of the troposphere, reinforced the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) and, in turn, the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). However, such a response mode in deep ocean circulation did not occur during the middle Eocene because of different tectonic boundary conditions and the immature states of the ACC. Instead, the middle Eocene interglacial conditions weakened the formation of the proto-type NADW due to less heat loss rate in high-latitude regions of the North Atlantic during high obliquity periods. Our findings highlight the different responses of deep ocean circulation to orbital forcing and show that climate feedbacks can be largely sensitive to boundary conditions.
Project description:The large-scale reorganization of deep ocean circulation in the Atlantic involving changes in North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) played a critical role in regulating hemispheric and global climate during the last deglaciation. However, changes in the relative contributions of NADW and AABW and their properties are poorly constrained by marine records, including ?18O of benthic foraminiferal calcite (?18Oc). Here, we use an isotope-enabled ocean general circulation model with realistic geometry and forcing conditions to simulate the deglacial water mass and ?18O evolution. Model results suggest that, in response to North Atlantic freshwater forcing during the early phase of the last deglaciation, NADW nearly collapses, while AABW mildly weakens. Rather than reflecting changes in NADW or AABW properties caused by freshwater input as suggested previously, the observed phasing difference of deep ?18Oc likely reflects early warming of the deep northern North Atlantic by ?1.4 °C, while deep Southern Ocean temperature remains largely unchanged. We propose a thermodynamic mechanism to explain the early warming in the North Atlantic, featuring a strong middepth warming and enhanced downward heat flux via vertical mixing. Our results emphasize that the way that ocean circulation affects heat, a dynamic tracer, is considerably different from how it affects passive tracers, like ?18O, and call for caution when inferring water mass changes from ?18Oc records while assuming uniform changes in deep temperatures.
Project description:The Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT), approximately 34?Ma ago, marks a period of major global cooling and inception of the Antarctic ice sheet. Proxies of deep circulation suggest a contemporaneous onset or strengthening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). Proxy evidence of gradual salinification of the North Atlantic and tectonically driven isolation of the Arctic suggest that closing the Arctic-Atlantic gateway could have triggered the AMOC at the EOT. We demonstrate this trigger of the AMOC using a new paleoclimate model with late Eocene boundary conditions. The control simulation reproduces Eocene observations of low Arctic salinities. Subsequent closure of the Arctic-Atlantic gateway triggers the AMOC by blocking freshwater inflow from the Arctic. Salt advection feedbacks then lead to cessation of overturning in the North Pacific. These circulation changes imply major warming of the North Atlantic Ocean, and simultaneous cooling of the North Pacific, but no interhemispheric change in temperatures.
Project description:Constraining the response time of the climate system to changes in North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation is fundamental to improving climate and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation predictability. Here we report a new synchronization of terrestrial, marine, and ice-core records, which allows the first quantitative determination of the response time of North Atlantic climate to changes in high-latitude NADW formation rate during the last deglaciation. Using a continuous record of deep water ventilation from the Nordic Seas, we identify a ∼400-year lead of changes in high-latitude NADW formation ahead of abrupt climate changes recorded in Greenland ice cores at the onset and end of the Younger Dryas stadial, which likely occurred in response to gradual changes in temperature- and wind-driven freshwater transport. We suggest that variations in Nordic Seas deep-water circulation are precursors to abrupt climate changes and that future model studies should address this phasing.
Project description:The Nd isotope composition of seawater has been used to reconstruct past changes in the contribution of different water masses to the deep ocean. In the absence of contrary information, the Nd isotope compositions of endmember water masses are usually assumed constant during the Quaternary. Here we show that the Nd isotope composition of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), a major component of the global overturning ocean circulation, was significantly more radiogenic than modern during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and shifted towards modern values during the deglaciation. We propose that weathering contributions of unradiogenic Nd modulated by the North American Ice Sheet dominated the evolution of the NADW Nd isotope endmember. If water mass mixing dominated the distribution of deep glacial Atlantic Nd isotopes, our results would imply a larger fraction of NADW in the deep Atlantic during the LGM and deglaciation than reconstructed with a constant northern endmember.
Project description:The early Pliocene shoaling of the Central American Seaway (CAS), ~4.7-4.2 million years ago (mega annum-Ma), is thought to have strengthened Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The associated increase in northward flux of heat and moisture may have significantly influenced the evolution of Pliocene climate. While some evidence for the predicted increase in North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation exists in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic, similar evidence is missing in the wider Atlantic. Here, we present stable carbon (δ(13)C) and oxygen (δ(18)O) isotope records from the Southeast Atlantic-a key region for monitoring the southern extent of NADW. Using these data, together with other δ(13)C and δ(18)O records from the Atlantic, we assess the impact of the early Pliocene CAS shoaling phase on deep-water circulation. We find that NADW formation was vigorous prior to 4.7 Ma and showed limited subsequent change. Hence, the overall structure of the deep Atlantic was largely unaffected by the early Pliocene CAS shoaling, corroborating other evidence that indicates larger changes in NADW resulted from earlier and deeper shoaling phases. This finding implies that the early Pliocene shoaling of the CAS had no profound impact on the evolution of climate.
Project description:Several studies indicate that North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation might have initiated during the globally warm Eocene (56-34 Ma). However, constraints on Eocene surface ocean conditions in source regions presently conducive to deep water formation are sparse. Here we test whether ocean conditions of the middle Eocene Labrador Sea might have allowed for deep water formation by applying (organic) geochemical and palynological techniques, on sediments from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 647. We reconstruct a long-term sea surface temperature (SST) drop from ~30°C to ~27°C between 41.5 to 38.5 Ma, based on TEX86. Superimposed on this trend, we record ~2°C warming in SST associated with the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO; ~40 Ma), which is the northernmost MECO record as yet, and another, likely regional, warming phase at ~41.1 Ma, associated with low-latitude planktic foraminifera and dinoflagellate cyst incursions. Dinoflagellate cyst assemblages together with planktonic foraminiferal stable oxygen isotope ratios overall indicate low surface water salinities and strong stratification. Benthic foraminifer stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios differ from global deep ocean values by 1-2‰ and 2-4‰, respectively, indicating geographic basin isolation. Our multiproxy reconstructions depict a consistent picture of relatively warm and fresh but also highly variable surface ocean conditions in the middle Eocene Labrador Sea. These conditions were unlikely conducive to deep water formation. This implies either NADW did not yet form during the middle Eocene or it formed in a different source region and subsequently bypassed the southern Labrador Sea.
Project description:We hypothesized that mixing zones of deep-water masses act as ecotones leading to alterations in microbial diversity and activity due to changes in the biogeochemical characteristics of these boundary systems. We determined the changes in prokaryotic and viral abundance and production in the Vema Fracture Zone (VFZ) of the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean, where North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) are funneled through this narrow canyon and therefore, are subjected to intense vertical mixing. Consequently, salinity, potential temperature, oxygen, PO4, SiO4, NO3 were altered in the NADW inside the VFZ as compared to the NADW outside of the VFZ. Also, viral abundance, lytic viral production (VP) and the virus-to-prokaryote ratio (VPR) were elevated in the NADW in the VFZ as compared to the NADW outside the VFZ. In contrast to lytic VP, lysogenic VP and both the frequency of lytically (FIC) and lysogenically infected cells (FLC) did not significantly differ between in- and outside the VFZ. Generally, FIC was higher than FLC throughout the water column. Prokaryotic (determined by T-RFLP) and viral (determined by RAPD-PCR) community composition was depth-stratified inside and outside the VFZ. The viral community was more modified both with depth and over distance inside the VFZ as compared to the northern section and to the prokaryotic communities. However, no clusters of prokaryotic and viral communities characteristic for the VFZ were identified. Based on our observations, we conclude that turbulent mixing of the deep water masses impacts not only the physico-chemical parameters of the mixing zone but also the interaction between viruses and prokaryotes due to a stimulation of the overall activity. However, only minor effects of deep water mixing were observed on the community composition of the dominant prokaryotes and viruses.
Project description:Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) is a primary deep water mass exported from the Norwegian Sea into the North Atlantic as part of the global Meridional Overturning Circulation. ISOW has historically been depicted as flowing counter-clockwise in a deep boundary current around the subpolar North Atlantic, but this single-boundary-following pathway is being challenged by new Lagrangian observations and model simulations. We show here that ISOW leaves the boundary and spreads into the interior towards the central Labrador and Irminger basins after flowing through the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. We also describe a newly observed southward pathway of ISOW along the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The partitioning of these pathways is shown to be influenced by deep-reaching eddies and meanders of the North Atlantic Current. Our results, in tandem with previous studies, call for a revision in the historical depiction of ISOW pathways throughout the North Atlantic.
Project description:During the Late Cretaceous and early Cenozoic the Earth experienced prolonged climatic cooling most likely caused by decreasing volcanic activity and atmospheric CO2 levels. However, the causes and mechanisms of subsequent major global warming culminating in the late Paleocene to Eocene greenhouse climate remain enigmatic. We present deep and intermediate water Nd-isotope records from the North and South Atlantic to decipher the control of the opening Atlantic Ocean on ocean circulation and its linkages to the evolution of global climate. The marked convergence of Nd-isotope signatures 59 million years ago indicates a major intensification of deep-water exchange between the North and South Atlantic, which coincided with the turning point of deep-water temperatures towards early Paleogene warming. We propose that this intensification of Atlantic overturning circulation in concert with increased atmospheric CO2 from continental rifting marked a climatic tipping point contributing to a more efficient distribution of heat over the planet.
Project description:Viruses are an abundant, diverse and dynamic component of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. In the ocean, viruses play a key role in the biogeochemical cycles and controlling microbial abundance, diversity and evolution. Recent metagenomics studies assessed the structure of the viral community in the upper ocean. However, little is known about the compositional changes in viral communities along the deep ocean conveyor belt. To assess potential changes in the viral community in the global deep-water circulation system, water samples were collected in the core of the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) (?2,500 m) and Pacific Antarctic Bottom Water (?4,000 m). Microbial and viral abundance were evaluated by flow cytometry. Subsequently, flow cytometry was used to sort virus-like particles and next generation sequencing was applied to build DNA libraries from the sorted virus populations. The viral communities were highly diverse across different oceanic regions with high dissimilarity between samples. Only 18% of the viral protein clusters were shared between the NADW and the Pacific Antarctic Bottom Water. Few viral groups, mainly associated with uncultured environmental and uncultured Mediterranean viruses were ubiquitously distributed along the global deep-water circulation system. Thus, our results point to a few groups of widely distributed abundant viruses in addition to the presence of rare and diverse types of viruses at a local scale.