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Benthic foraminiferal carbon isotope records from a suite of drill sites in the North Atlantic are used to trace variations in the relative strengths of Lower North Atlantic Deep Water (LNADW), Upper North Atlantic Deep Water (UNADW), and Southern Ocean Water (SOW) over the past 1 Myr. During glacial intervals, significant increases in intermediate-to-deep delta(13)C gradients (commonly reaching >1.2 parts per thousand) are consistent with changes in deep water circulation and associated chemical stratification. Bathymetric delta(13)C gradients covary with benthic foraminiferal delta(18)O and covary inversely with Vostok CO2, in agreement with chemical stratification as a driver of atmospheric CO2 changes. Three deep circulation indices based on delta(13)C show a phasing similar to North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, consistent with a Northern Hemisphere control of NADW/SOW variations. However, lags in the precession band indicate that factors other than deep water circulation control ice volume variations at least in this band.

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Paleoceanography, v. 15, issue 4, p. 388-403

Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union