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Publication and Communication

Holocene Atlantic bottom water inflow at the western Barents Sea margin, European Arctic


D. Groot, S. Aagaard-Sørensen, K. Husum

First Authors affiliation



4th Open Science Meeting

Goa; India

11-16 February 2013





The northward flow of warm and saline Atlantic Water forms an integral part of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). Variability in the AMOC can affect the convective formation of deep water in the Nordic Seas and thereby the global ocean circulation. Additionally, variations in the inflow of Atlantic Water govern the ecological conditions at higher latitudes. Hence, it is crucial to establish the natural range of oceanographic fluctuations.

Here we investigate a high resolution record from the western Barents Sea margin to elucidate any changes in the flow of Atlantic Water into the Arctic Ocean during the Holocene. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages and δ18O values (Cassidulina neoteretis) indicate rapid bottom water warming at the start of the Holocene with a replacement of the cold water species E. excavatum f. clavata by species such as C. neoteretis and Cassidulina reniforme, associated with cooled Atlantic Water. From ca. ± 10.000 to 2.000 cal. yr. BP. the foraminiferal assemblage indicates stable conditions while the δ18O record shows a cooling trend that can be correlated with summer insolation at this latitude following orbital forcing. The bottom water properties will furthermore be investigated using Mg/Ca ratios measured on C. neoteretis. Opposite to the stable foraminiferal assemblages, there are two large lithological changes. Around 8000 and 1500 cal. yr. BP. both the grain size and the foraminiferal productivity increase, indicating an increase in bottom current strength and more favorable living conditions. This change probably represents an amplified, regional, inflow of Atlantic Water into the Barents Sea.

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