Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2024-16
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2024-16
18 Mar 2024
 | 18 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Planktonic foraminiferal assemblages as tracers of paleoceanographic changes within the Northern Benguela current system since the Early Pleistocene

Arianna Valentina Del Gaudio, Aaron Avery, Gerald Auer, Werner Erwin Piller, and Walter Kurz

Abstract. The Benguela Upwelling System (BUS), located in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean, represents one of the world’s most productive regions. This system is delimited to the south by the Agulhas retroflection region. The northern boundary of the BUS is, instead, represented by the Angola Benguela Front (ABF), which is a thermal feature separating warm waters of the Angola Basin (including the South Atlantic Central Waters; SACW) from the cooler Benguela Oceanic Current (BOC). We performed statistical analyses on planktonic foraminiferal assemblages in 94 samples from Holes U1575A and U1576A, cored during International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 391. Drilled sites are located along the Tristan-Gough-Walvis Ridge (TGW) seamount track in the northern sector of the BUS (offshore the Namibian continental margin). The analyzed stratigraphic intervals span the Early-Late Pleistocene, marked by the Early-Middle Pleistocene Transition (EMPT; 1.40–0.40 Myr), during which important glacial-interglacial sea surface temperature (SST) variabilities occurred. This work provides novel insights on the local paleoceanographic evolution of the northern BUS and associated thermocline variability based on the ecological significance of the foraminiferal assemblages. Specifically, variations in the assemblage content allowed to characterize the different water masses (BOC, SACW, Agulhas waters) and reconstruct their interactions during the Quaternary. The interplay of the previously mentioned water masses induced perturbations in the BUS (ABF latitudinal shifts and input of tropical waters from the Agulhas retroflection region). Furthermore, we investigated the possible link between changes in the paleoceanographic conditions and climatic events (e.g., Benguela Niño/Niña-like phases and deglaciation stages) recorded since the EMPT.

Arianna Valentina Del Gaudio, Aaron Avery, Gerald Auer, Werner Erwin Piller, and Walter Kurz

Status: open (until 13 May 2024)

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Arianna Valentina Del Gaudio, Aaron Avery, Gerald Auer, Werner Erwin Piller, and Walter Kurz
Arianna Valentina Del Gaudio, Aaron Avery, Gerald Auer, Werner Erwin Piller, and Walter Kurz

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Short summary
The Benguela Upwelling System is a region in the SE Atlantic Ocean of high biological productivity. It comprises several water masses such as the Benguela Current, the South Atlantic Central Water and the Indian Ocean Agulhas waters. We analyzed planktonic foraminifera from IODP Sites U1575-U1576 to characterize the water masses and their interplay in the Pleistocene. This defined changes in the local thermocline, which were linked to long-term Benguela Niño/Niña-like and deglaciation events.