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Enhanced vertical mixing in the glacial ocean inferred from sedimentary carbon isotopes. / Wilmes, Sophie-Berenice; Green, Mattias; Schmittner, A.

In: Communications Earth and Environment, Vol. 2, 166, 18.08.2021.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Enhanced vertical mixing in the glacial ocean inferred from sedimentary carbon isotopes

AU - Wilmes, Sophie-Berenice

AU - Green, Mattias

AU - Schmittner, A.

PY - 2021/8/18

Y1 - 2021/8/18

N2 - Reconstructing the circulation, mixing and carbon content of the Last Glacial Maximum ocean remains challenging. Recent hypotheses suggest that a shoaled Atlantic meridional overturning circulation or increased stratification would have reduced vertical mixing, isolated the abyssal ocean and increased carbon storage, thus contributing to lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Here, using an ensemble of ocean simulations, we evaluate impacts of changes in tidal energy dissipation due to lower sea levels on ocean mixing, circulation, and carbon isotope distributions. We find that increased tidal mixing strengthens deep ocean flow rates and decreases vertical gradients of radiocarbon and δ13C in the deep Atlantic. Simulations with a shallower overturning circulation and more vigorous mixing fit sediment isotope data best. Our results, which are conservative, provide observational support that vertical mixing in the glacial Atlantic may have been enhanced due to more vigorous tidal dissipation, despite shoaling of the overturning circulation and increases in stratification.

AB - Reconstructing the circulation, mixing and carbon content of the Last Glacial Maximum ocean remains challenging. Recent hypotheses suggest that a shoaled Atlantic meridional overturning circulation or increased stratification would have reduced vertical mixing, isolated the abyssal ocean and increased carbon storage, thus contributing to lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Here, using an ensemble of ocean simulations, we evaluate impacts of changes in tidal energy dissipation due to lower sea levels on ocean mixing, circulation, and carbon isotope distributions. We find that increased tidal mixing strengthens deep ocean flow rates and decreases vertical gradients of radiocarbon and δ13C in the deep Atlantic. Simulations with a shallower overturning circulation and more vigorous mixing fit sediment isotope data best. Our results, which are conservative, provide observational support that vertical mixing in the glacial Atlantic may have been enhanced due to more vigorous tidal dissipation, despite shoaling of the overturning circulation and increases in stratification.

KW - Palaeoceanography

KW - Palaeoclimate

KW - Physical oceanography

U2 - https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00239-y

DO - https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00239-y

M3 - Article

VL - 2

JO - Communications Earth and Environment

JF - Communications Earth and Environment

SN - 2662-4435

M1 - 166

ER -