North Atlantic Intermediate to Deep Water circulation and chemical stratification during the past 1 Myr

Flower, B. P.; Oppo, Delia W.; McManus, Jerry F.; Venz, K. A.; Hodell, D. A.; Cullen, James L.

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 δ13C gradients (commonly reaching >1.2‰) are consistent with changes in deep water circulation and associated chemical stratification. Bathymetric δ13C gradients covary with benthic foraminiferal δ18O and covary inversely with Vostok CO2, in agreement with chemical stratification as a driver of atmospheric CO2 changes. Three deep circulation indices based on δ13C 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.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Flower_et_al-2000-Paleoceanography.pdf Flower_et_al-2000-Paleoceanography.pdf application/pdf 1.32 MB Download File

Also Published In


More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
American Geophysical Union
Published Here
January 26, 2016