Data Constraints on Glacial Atlantic Water Mass Geometry and Properties

TitleData Constraints on Glacial Atlantic Water Mass Geometry and Properties
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsOppo, DW, Gebbie, G, Huang, K‐F, Curry, WB, Marchitto, TM, Pietro, KR
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Pagination1013 - 1034
Date PublishedMar-09-2020

The chemical composition of benthic foraminifera from marine sediment cores provides information on how glacial subsurface water properties differed from modern, but separating the influence of changes in the origin and end‐member properties of subsurface water from changes in flows and mixing is challenging. Spatial gaps in coverage of glacial data add to the uncertainty. Here we present new data from cores collected from the Demerara Rise in the western tropical North Atlantic, including cores from the modern tropical phosphate maximum at Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) depths. The results suggest lower phosphate concentration and higher carbonate saturation state within the phosphate maximum than modern despite similar carbon isotope values, consistent with less accumulation of respired nutrients and carbon, and reduced air‐sea gas exchange in source waters to the region. An inversion of new and published glacial data confirms these inferences and further suggests that lower preformed nutrients in AAIW, and partial replacement of this still relatively high‐nutrient AAIW with nutrient‐depleted, carbonate‐rich waters sourced from the region of the modern‐day northern subtropics, also contributed to the observed changes. The results suggest that glacial preformed and remineralized phosphate were lower throughout the upper Atlantic, but deep phosphate concentration was higher. The inversion, which relies on the fidelity of the paleoceanographic data, suggests that the partial replacement of North Atlantic sourced deep water by Southern Ocean Water was largely responsible for the apparent deep North Atlantic phosphate increase, rather than greater remineralization.