Articles | Volume 4, issue 4
Special issue:
06 Dec 2008
 | 06 Dec 2008

Mid-depth South Atlantic Ocean circulation and chemical stratification during MIS-10 to 12: implications for atmospheric CO2

A. J. Dickson, M. J. Leng, and M. A. Maslin

Abstract. A detailed record of benthic foraminifera carbon isotopes from the intermediate-depth South East Atlantic margin shows little glacial-interglacial variability between MIS-12 to MIS-10, suggesting that Northern Atlantic deepwaters consistently penetrated to at least 30° S. Millennial-scale increases in either the mass or flux of northern-sourced deepwaters over the core site occurred alongside reductions in Lower North Atlantic Deep Water recorded in North Atlantic sediment cores and show that the lower and intermediate limb of the Atlantic deepwater convective cell oscillated in anti-phase during previous glacial periods. In addition, a 500 yr resolution record of the Cape Basin intermediate-deep δ13C gradient shows that a reduction in deep Southern Ocean ventilation at the end of MIS-11 was consistent with a modelled CO2 drawdown of ~21–30 ppm. Further increases in the Southern Ocean chemical divide during the transition into MIS-10 were completed before minimum CO2 levels were reached, suggesting that other mechanisms such as alkalinity changes were responsible for the remaining ~45 ppm drawdown.