Arctic Ocean during the Last Glacial Maximum: Atlantic and polar domains of surface water mass distribution and ice cover

Niels Nørgaard-Pedersen, Robert F. Spielhagen, Helmut Erlenkeuser, Pieter M. Grootes, Jan Heinemeier, Jochen Knies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

On the basis of 52 sediment cores, analyzed and dated at high resolution, the paleoceanography and climate of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) were reconstructed in detail for the Fram Strait and the eastern and central Arctic Ocean. Sediment composition and stable isotope data suggest three distinct paleoenvironments: (1) a productive region in the eastern to central Fram Strait and along the northern Barents Sea continental margin characterized by Atlantic Water advection, frequent open water conditions, and occasional local meltwater supply and iceberg calving from the Barents Sea Ice Sheet; (2) an intermediate region in the southwestern Eurasian Basin (up to 84-85°N) and the western Fram Strait characterized by subsurface Atlantic Water advection and recirculation, a moderately high planktic productivity, and a perennial ice cover that breaks up only occasionally; and (3) a central Arctic region (north of 85°N in the Eurasian Basin) characterized by a low-salinity surface water layer and a thick ice cover that strongly reduces bioproduction and bulk sedimentation rates. Although the total inflow of Atlantic Water into the Arctic Ocean may have been reduced during the LGM, its impact on ice coverage and halocline structure in the Fram Strait and southwestern Eurasian Basin was strong.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPaleoceanography
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arctic Ocean
  • Atlantic water advection
  • Last Glacial Maximum
  • Oxygen isotopes
  • Planktic foraminifers
  • Sea ice

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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