The intensity of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) production has been one of the most important parameters controlling the global thermohaline ocean circulation system and climate. Here we present a new approach to reconstruct the overall strength of NADW export from the North Atlantic to the Southern Ocean over the past 14 Myr applying the deep water Nd and Pb isotope composition as recorded by ferromanganese crusts and nodules. We present the first long-term Nd and Pb isotope time series for deep Southern Ocean water masses, which are compared with previously published time series for NADW from the NW Atlantic Ocean. These data suggest a continuous and strong export of NADW, or a precursor of it, into the Southern Ocean between 14 and 3 Ma. An increasing difference in Nd and Pb isotope compositions between the NW Atlantic and the Southern Ocean over the past 3 Myr gives evidence for a progressive overall reduction of NADW export since the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation (NHG). The Nd isotope data allow us to assess at least semiquantitatively that the amount of this reduction has been in the range between 14 and 37% depending on location.
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North Atlantic Deep Water export to the Southern Ocean over the past 14 Myr: Evidence from Nd and Pb isotopes in ferromanganese crusts