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Holocene sub centennial evolution of Atlantic water inflow and sea ice distribution in the western Barents Sea


S.M.P. Berben, K. Husum, P. Cabedo-Sanz, and S.T. Belt

First Authors affiliation

Department of Geology, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway


Climate of the Past Discussion

 10,181-198, 2014

Special Issue


In order to elucidate a continuous Holocene high resolution record of past variability of Atlantic water inflow and sea ice distribution, we investigate in this study a marine sediment core (JM09-KA11-GC) from the Kveithola Trough, western Barents Sea margin which is influenced by the north flowing North Atlantic Current (NAC).

The depth-age model for JM09-KA11-GC was constructed from 9 14C AMS dates and shows sediment accumulation rates from 0.04 to 0.67 mm yr−1, enabling a sub centennial resolution for most of the core. Planktic foraminifera, stable isotopes and biomarkers from sea ice diatoms and phytoplankton were analysed in order to reconstruct subsurface temperatures and sea ice distribution.

Throughout the early part of the Holocene (11 900–6900 cal yr BP), the foraminiferal fauna is dominated by the polar Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sinistral) and the biomarkers show an influence of seasonal sea ice. Between 11 300 and 11 100 cal yr BP, a clear cooling is shown both by fauna and stable isotope data corresponding to the so-called Preboreal Oscillation. After 6900 cal yr BP the subpolar Turborotalita quinqueloba becomes the most frequent species, reflecting a stable Atlantic water inflow. Subsurface temperatures reach 6 °C and biomarker content indicates open water with mainly ice-free conditions. During the last 1100 cal yr BP, biomarker abundances and distributions show the re-appearance of low frequency seasonal sea ice and the planktic fauna show a reduced salinity in the subsurface water. No apparent temperature decrease is observed during this interval, but the rapidly fluctuating fauna and biomarker distributions indicate more unstable conditions.

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