Marine Science Faculty Publications

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Gulf of Mexico, abrupt climate change, deglaciation

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During the last deglaciation, Greenland ice core and North Atlantic sediment records exhibit multiple abrupt climate events including the Younger Dryas cold episode (12.9-11.7 ka). However, evidence for the presence of the Younger Dryas in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and the relationship between GOM sea surface temperature (SST) and high-latitude climate change is less clear. We present new Mg/Ca-SST records from two varieties of the planktonic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber (white and pink) to assess northern GOM SST history from approximately 18.4-10.8 ka. Thirty-five accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) C-14 dates from Orca Basin core MD02-2550 provide excellent age control and document high sedimentation rates (similar to 40 cm/kyr). G. ruber (white and pink) Mg/Ca-SST data exhibit increases (similar to 4.6 +/- 0.6 degrees C and similar to 2.2 +/- 0.5 degrees C, respectively) from at least 17.8-16.6 ka, with nearly decadal resolution that are early relative to the onset of the Bolling-Allerod interstadial. Moreover, G. ruber (white) SST decreases at 16.0-14.7 ka (similar to 1.0 +/- 0.5 degrees C) and 12.8-11.6 ka (similar to 2.4 +/- 0.6 degrees C) correlate to the Oldest and Younger Dryas in Greenland and Cariaco Basin. The G. ruber (pink) SST record, which reflects differences in seasonality and/or depth habitat, is often not in phase with G. ruber (white) and closely resembles Antarctic air temperature records. Overall, it appears that Orca Basin SST records follow Antarctic air temperature early in the deglacial sequence and exhibit enhanced seasonality during Greenland stadials.

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Paleoceanography, v. 25, issue 4, article PA4221

Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

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