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Publication and Communication

A complex Late Glacial and Holocene paleoceanography of the Greenland Sea

Maciej Mateusz Telesinski, Robert F. Spielhagen

First Author affiliation
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Kiel, Germany.

AGU Fall Meeting 2012
San Francisco, USA
3-7 December 2012



Four sediment cores from the central and northern Greenland Sea have been studied for various proxies (planktic foraminiferal assemblages, stable carbon and oxygen isotopes of planktic and benthic foraminifers, sedimentology). The southernmost core, from the southern flank of the Vesterisbanken Seamount, contains a relatively high resolution (average sedimentation rate of ca. 5.1 cm/kyr) record of the Late Glacial and the Holocene. The other records, although of lower temporal resolution, allow assessing the spatial variability within the Greenland Sea. The Late Glacial was characterized by numerous ice rafting events. Meltwater discharges from the Greenland Ice Sheet led to the strong temporary freshening of the surface and subsurface water. During the Younger Dryas (12.8-11.8 ka BP) the area was again affected by a freshwater discharge, supporting the arctic origin of this cold event. The Holocene part of the record is characterized by significant changes in the abundance of planktic foraminifera which can be traced in the entire study area. A distinct Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM) appeared between ca. 10 and 5.5 ka BP with abundant foraminiferal fauna rich in subpolar species. However, in the northern Greenland Sea signs of warming can be found as early as 16 ka BP. 5.5 ka BP marks the onset of the Neoglacial cooling. In the central Greenland Sea the cooling trend was reversed ca. 2.5 ka BP and conditions comparable to the HTM were restored within ca. one thousand years. Since the Late Glacial, the ventilation of the water column seems to be relatively strong. Around 3.0 ka BP the stratification suddenly increased, probably as a result of a thickening of the cold and fresh surface layer. The reduced water mixing together with the enhanced inflow of warm Atlantic Water could have led to a local warming in the Late Holocene.

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