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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-73
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-73
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  11 Jun 2020

11 Jun 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Lower oceanic 𝛿13C during the Last Interglacial compared to the Holocene

Shannon A. Bengtson1,2, Laurie C. Menviel1, Katrin J. Meissner1,2, Lise Missiaen1, Carlye D. Peterson3, Lorraine E. Lisiecki4, and Fortunat Joos5,6 Shannon A. Bengtson et al.
  • 1Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 2The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, Australia
  • 3Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California, USA
  • 4Department of Earth Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA
  • 5Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 6Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. The last time in Earth’s history when the high latitudes were warmer than during pre-industrial times was the last interglacial (LIG, 129–116 ka BP). Since the LIG is the most recent and best documented warm time period, it can provide insights into climate processes in a warmer world. However, some key features of the LIG are not well constrained, notably the oceanic circulation and the global carbon cycle. Here, we use a new database of LIG benthic 𝛿13C to investigate these two aspects. We find that the oceanic mean 𝛿13C was ~ 0.2 ‰ lower during the LIG (here defined as 125–120 ka BP) when compared to the mid-Holocene (7–4 ka BP). As the LIG was slightly warmer than the Holocene, it is possible that terrestrial carbon was lower, which would have led to both a lower oceanic 𝛿13C and atmospheric 𝛿13CO2 as observed in paleo-records. However, given the multi-millennial timescale, the lower oceanic 𝛿13C most likely reflects a long-term imbalance between weathering and burial of carbon. The 𝛿13C distribution in the Atlantic Ocean suggests no significant difference in the latitudinal and depth extent of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) between the LIG and the mid-Holocene. Furthermore, the data suggests that the multi-millennial mean NADW transport was similar between these two time periods.

Shannon A. Bengtson et al.

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Shannon A. Bengtson et al.

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Short summary
The last interglacial is a warm period that could provide insights into future warm conditions. Here, we compile and analyse carbon isotope data from the ocean during the last interglacial compared to the mid-Holocene. The data show that Atlantic Ocean circulation was similar during these periods. We also establish a mean oceanic carbon isotope difference between these periods which was most likely caused by burial and weathering carbon fluxes.
The last interglacial is a warm period that could provide insights into future warm conditions....
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