Oceanographic variability on the West Antarctic Peninsula during the Holocene and the influence of upper circumpolar deep water

Recent intensification of wind-driven upwelling of warm upper circumpolar deep water (UCDW) has been linked to accelerated melting of West Antarctic ice shelves and glaciers. To better assess the long term relationship between UCDW upwelling and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, we present a multi-proxy reconstruction of surface and bottom water conditions in Marguerite Bay, West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), through the Holocene. A combination of sedimentological, diatom and foraminiferal records are, for the first time, presented together to infer a decline in UCDW influence within Marguerite Bay through the early to mid Holocene and the dominance of cyclic forcing in the late Holocene. Extensive glacial melt, limited sea ice and enhanced primary productivity between 9.7 and 7.0 ka BP is considered to be most consistent with persistent incursions of UCDW through Marguerite Trough. From 7.0 ka BP sea ice seasons increased and productivity decreased, suggesting that UCDW influence within Marguerite Bay waned, coincident with the equatorward migration of the Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SWW). UCDW influence continued through the mid Holocene, and by 4.2 ka BP lengthy sea ice seasons persisted within Marguerite Bay. Intermittent melting and reforming of this sea ice within the late Holocene may be indicative of episodic incursions of UCDW into Marguerite Bay during this period. The cyclical changes in the oceanography within Marguerite Bay during the late Holocene is consistent with enhanced sensitively to ENSO forcing as opposed to the SWW-forcing that appears to have dominated the early to mid Holocene. Current measurements of the oceanography of the WAP continental shelf suggest that the system has now returned to the early Holocene-like oceanographic configuration reported here, which in both cases has been associated with rapid deglaciation.


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Authors: Peck, Victoria L. ORCIDORCID record for Victoria L. Peck, Allen, Claire S. ORCIDORCID record for Claire S. Allen, Kender, Sev, McClymont, Erin L., Hodgson, Dominic ORCIDORCID record for Dominic Hodgson

On this site: Claire Allen, Dominic Hodgson, Victoria Peck
1 July, 2015
Quaternary Science Reviews / 119
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