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Publication and Communication

Late glacial and Holocene paleoceanography of the central and northern Greenland Sea based on foraminifera, stable isotopes and sediments


M. Telesinski & R. Spielhagen


First Author Affiliation

GEOMAR, Germany


GV and SEDIMENT meeting

Hamburg, Germany

23-28 September 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 fl ank of the Vesterisbanken Seamount, contains a relatively high resolution (average sedimentation rate of ca. 4.7 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 ice rafting events. Meltwater discharges from the Greenland Ice Sheet led to the temporary freshening of the surface and subsurface water. Since ca. 15 ka BP, a constant enhancement of the East Greenland Current was observed. 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 core from the Greenland continental slope north of Vesterisbanken Seamount, there are signs of signifi cant warming that began already ca. 16 ka BP. The HTM was interrupted by several short-lived cooling events. The most prominent of them appeared ca. 8.6-8.2 ka BP and may be correlated with the so-called ‘8.2 ka BP event’. 5.5 ka BP marks the onset of the Neoglacial cooling, which ca. 3 ka BP led to the stronger stratifi cation of the water column and poorer ventilation of the subsurface and bottom waters, refl ected in the carbon isotope record. The cooling trend in the central Greenland Sea (Vesterisbanken Seamount) was reversed ca. 2.5 ka BP by an abrupt warming that restored the conditions similar to the HTM. This is unusual, compared to other records. No signifi cant changes are observed in our isotope record at this time. The benthic oxygen isotope record from this site exhibits strong millennial-scale variability.

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