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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 13, 1717-1749, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-13-1717-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
30 Nov 2017
Atlantic Water advection vs. glacier dynamics in northern Spitsbergen since early deglaciation
Martin Bartels1, Jürgen Titschack1,2, Kirsten Fahl3, Rüdiger Stein3, Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz4, Claude Hillaire-Marcel5, and Dierk Hebbeln1 1MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2SaM – Senckenberg am Meer, Marine Research Department, 26382 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
3Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany
4Centre for Past Climate Studies and Arctic Research Centre, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
5GEOTOP – Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, H3C 3P8, Canada
Abstract. Atlantic Water (AW) advection plays an important role in climatic, oceanographic and environmental conditions in the eastern Arctic. Situated along the only deep connection between the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans, the Svalbard Archipelago is an ideal location to reconstruct the past AW advection history and document its linkage with local glacier dynamics, as illustrated in the present study of a 275 cm long sedimentary record from Woodfjorden (northern Spitsbergen; water depth: 171 m) spanning the last  ∼  15 500 years. Sedimentological, micropalaeontological and geochemical analyses were used to reconstruct changes in marine environmental conditions, sea ice cover and glacier activity. Data illustrate a partial break-up of the Svalbard–Barents Sea Ice Sheet from Heinrich Stadial 1 onwards (until  ∼  14.6 ka). During the Bølling–Allerød ( ∼  14.6–12.7 ka), AW penetrated as a bottom water mass into the fjord system and contributed significantly to the destabilization of local glaciers. During the Younger Dryas ( ∼  12.7–11.7 ka), it intruded into intermediate waters while evidence for a glacier advance is lacking. A short-term deepening of the halocline occurred at the very end of this interval. During the early Holocene ( ∼  11.7–7.8 ka), mild conditions led to glacier retreat, a reduced sea ice cover and increasing sea surface temperatures, with a brief interruption during the Preboreal Oscillation ( ∼  11.1–10.8 ka). Due to a  ∼  6000-year gap, the mid-Holocene is not recorded in this sediment core. During the late Holocene ( ∼  1.8–0.4 ka), a slightly reduced AW inflow and lower sea surface temperatures compared to the early Holocene are reconstructed. Glaciers, which previously retreated to the shallower inner parts of the Woodfjorden system, likely advanced during the late Holocene. In particular, topographic control in concert with the reduced summer insolation partly decoupled glacier dynamics from AW advection during this recent interval.

Citation: Bartels, M., Titschack, J., Fahl, K., Stein, R., Seidenkrantz, M.-S., Hillaire-Marcel, C., and Hebbeln, D.: Atlantic Water advection vs. glacier dynamics in northern Spitsbergen since early deglaciation, Clim. Past, 13, 1717-1749, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-13-1717-2017, 2017.
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Multi-proxy analyses (i.a., benthic foraminiferal assemblages and sedimentary properties) of a marine record from Woodfjorden at the northern Svalbard margin (Norwegian Arctic) illustrate a significant contribution of relatively warm Atlantic water to the destabilization of tidewater glaciers, especially during the deglaciation and early Holocene (until ~ 7800 years ago), whereas its influence on glacier activity has been fading during the last 2 millennia, enabling glacier readvances.
Multi-proxy analyses (i.a., benthic foraminiferal assemblages and sedimentary properties) of a...
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