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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 10 | Copyright
Clim. Past, 14, 1361-1375, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1361-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Oct 2018

Research article | 01 Oct 2018

Last interglacial ocean changes in the Bahamas: climate teleconnections between low and high latitudes

Anastasia Zhuravleva1 and Henning A. Bauch2 Anastasia Zhuravleva and Henning A. Bauch
  • 1Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Literature, Mainz c/o GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Wischhofstrasse 1–3, Kiel, 24148, Germany
  • 2Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research c/o GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Wischhofstrasse 1–3, Kiel, 24148, Germany

Abstract. Paleorecords and modeling studies suggest that instabilities in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) strongly affect the low-latitude climate, namely via feedbacks on the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Despite the pronounced millennial-scale overturning and climatic variability documented in the subpolar North Atlantic during the last interglacial period (MIS 5e), studies on cross-latitudinal teleconnections remain very limited. This precludes a full understanding of the mechanisms controlling subtropical climate evolution across the last warm cycle. Here, we present new planktic foraminiferal assemblage data combined with δ18O values in surface and thermocline-dwelling foraminifera from the Bahamas, a region ideally suited to studying past changes in the subtropical ocean and atmosphere. Our data reveal that the peak sea surface warmth during early MIS 5e was intersected by an abrupt millennial-scale cooling/salinification event, which was possibly associated with a sudden southward displacement of the mean annual ITCZ position. This atmospheric shift is, in turn, ascribed to the transitional climatic regime of early MIS 5e, which was characterized by persistent ocean freshening in the high latitudes and an unstable AMOC mode.

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New foraminiferal data from the Bahama region are used to investigate the mechanisms regulating subtropical climate. Our results suggest that the sensitivity of the low-latitude climate increased at times of enhanced sea-surface freshening in the subpolar North Atlantic. This has further implications for future climate development, given the ongoing melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
New foraminiferal data from the Bahama region are used to investigate the mechanisms regulating...
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