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Salinity changes in the Agulhas leakage area recorded by stable hydrogen isotopes of C37 alkenones during Termination I and II
Kasper, S.; van der Meer, M.T.J.; Mets, A.; Zahn, R.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Schouten, S. (2014). Salinity changes in the Agulhas leakage area recorded by stable hydrogen isotopes of C37 alkenones during Termination I and II. Clim. Past 10(1): 251-260.
In: Climate of the Past. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 1814-9324; e-ISSN 1814-9332, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Kasper, S., meer
  • van der Meer, M.T.J., meer
  • Mets, A., meer
  • Zahn, R.
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., meer
  • Schouten, S., meer

    At the southern tip of Africa, the Agulhas Current reflects back into the Indian Ocean causing so-called "Agulhas rings" to spin off and release relatively warm and saline water into the South Atlantic Ocean. Previous reconstructions of the dynamics of the Agulhas Current, based on paleo-sea surface temperature and sea surface salinity proxies, inferred that Agulhas leakage from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic was reduced during glacial stages as a consequence of shifted wind fields and a northwards migration of the subtropical front. Subsequently, this might have led to a buildup of warm saline water in the southern Indian Ocean. To investigate this latter hypothesis, we reconstructed sea surface salinity changes using alkenone delta D, and paleo-sea surface temperature using TEX86H and U-37(K'), from two sediment cores (MD02-2594, MD96-2080) located in the Agulhas leakage area during Termination I and II. Both U-37(K') and TEX86H temperature reconstructions indicate an abrupt warming during the glacial terminations, while a shift to more negative delta D-alkenone values of approximately 14% during glacial Termination I and II is also observed. Approximately half of the isotopic shift can be attributed to the change in global ice volume, while the residual isotopic shift is attributed to changes in salinity, suggesting relatively high salinities at the core sites during glacials, with subsequent freshening during glacial terminations. Approximate estimations suggest that delta D-alkenone represents a salinity change of ca. 1.7-1.9 during Termination I and Termination II. These estimations are in good agreement with the proposed changes in salinity derived from previously reported combined planktonic Foraminifera delta O-18 values and Mg/Ca-based temperature reconstructions. Our results confirm that the delta D of alkenones is a potentially suitable tool to reconstruct salinity changes independent of planktonic Foraminifera delta O-18.

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