Reduced upwelling of nutrient and carbon-rich water in the subarctic Pacific during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition

Worne, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-7967-0864, Kender, S., Swann, G.E.A., Leng, M.J. and Ravelo, A.C., 2020. Reduced upwelling of nutrient and carbon-rich water in the subarctic Pacific during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 555: 109845. ISSN 0031-0182

1593253_Worne.pdf - Post-print

Download (1MB) | Preview


Reduction in atmospheric pCO2 has been hypothesised as a causal mechanism for the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT), which saw global cooling and increased duration of glacials between 0.6 and 1.2 Ma. Sea ice-modulated high latitude upwelling and ocean-atmospheric CO2 flux is considered a potential mechanism for pCO2 decline, although there are no long-term nutrient upwelling records from high latitude regions to test this hypothesis. Using nitrogen isotopes and opal mass accumulation rates from 0 to 1.2 Ma, we calculate a continuous high resolution nutrient upwelling index for the Bering Sea and assess possible changes to regional CO2 fluxes and to the relative control of sea ice, sea level and glacial North Pacific Intermediate Water (GNPIW) on deep mixing and nutrient upwelling in the region. We find nutrient upwelling in the Bering Sea correlates with global ice volume and air temperature throughout the study interval. From ~1 Ma, and particularly during the 900 ka event, suppressed nutrient upwelling would have lowered oceanic fluxes of CO2 to the atmosphere supporting a reduction in global pCO2 during the MPT. This timing is consistent with a pronounced increase in sea ice during the early Pleistocene and restriction of flow through the Bering Strait during glacials after ~900 ka, both of which would have acted to suppress upwelling. We suggest that sea-level modulated GNPIW expansion during glacials after 900 ka was the dominant control on subarctic Pacific upwelling strength during the mid-late Pleistocene, while sea ice variability played a secondary role.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Creators: Worne, S., Kender, S., Swann, G.E.A., Leng, M.J. and Ravelo, A.C.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: 1 October 2020
Volume: 555
ISSN: 0031-0182
S003101822030290XPublisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 30 Aug 2022 14:55
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2022 15:00

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year