Interglacial paleoclimate in the Arctic

Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
By: , and 



Marine Isotope Stage 11 from ~424 to 374 ka experienced peak interglacial warmth and highest global sea level ~410–400 ka. MIS 11 has received extensive study on the causes of its long duration and warmer than Holocene climate, which is anomalous in the last half million years. However, a major geographic gap in MIS 11 proxy records exists in the Arctic Ocean where fragmentary evidence exists for a seasonally sea ice-free summers and high sea-surface temperatures (SST; ~8–10 °C near the Mendeleev Ridge). We investigated MIS 11 in the western and central Arctic Ocean using 12 piston cores and several shorter cores using proxies for surface productivity (microfossil density), bottom water temperature (magnesium/calcium ratios), the proportion of Arctic Ocean Deep Water versus Arctic Intermediate Water (key ostracode species), sea ice (epipelagic sea ice dwelling ostracode abundance), and SST (planktic foraminifers). We produced a new benthic foraminiferal δ18O curve, which signifies changes in global ice volume, Arctic Ocean bottom temperature, and perhaps local oceanographic changes. Results indicate that peak warmth occurred in the Amerasian Basin during the middle of MIS 11 roughly from 410 to 400 ka. SST were as high as 8–10 °C for peak interglacial warmth, and sea ice was absent in summers. Evidence also exists for abrupt suborbital events punctuating the MIS 12-MIS 11-MIS 10 interval. These fluctuations in productivity, bottom water temperature, and deep and intermediate water masses (Arctic Ocean Deep Water and Arctic Intermediate Water) may represent Heinrich-like events possibly involving extensive ice shelves extending off Laurentide and Fennoscandian Ice Sheets bordering the Arctic.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Interglacial paleoclimate in the Arctic
Series title Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
DOI 10.1029/2019PA003708
Volume 34
Issue 12
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Florence Bascom Geoscience Center
Description 21 p.
First page 1959
Last page 1979
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