Vigorous exchange between the Indian and Atlantic oceans at the end of the past five glacial periods

F.J.C. Peeters, R. Acheson, G.J.A. Brummer, W.P.M. de Ruijter, R.R. Schneider, G.M. Ganssen, E. Ufkes, D. Kroon

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The magnitude of heat and salt transfer between the Indian and Atlantic oceans through 'Agulhas leakage' is considered important for balancing the global thermohaline circulation. Increases or reductions of this leakage lead to strengthening or weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning and associated variation of North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Here we show that modern Agulhas waters, which migrate into the south Atlantic Ocean in the form of an Agulhas ring, contain a characteristic assemblage of planktic foraminifera. We use this assemblage as a modern analogue to investigate the Agulhas leakage history over the past 550,000 years from a sediment record in the Cape basin. Our reconstruction indicates that Indian-Atlantic water exchange was highly variable: enhanced during present and past interglacials and largely reduced during glacial intervals. Coherent variability of Agulhas leakage with northern summer insolation suggests a teleconnection to the monsoon system. The onset of increased Agulhas leakage during late glacial conditions took place when glacial ice volume was maximal, suggesting a crucial role for Agulhas leakage in glacial terminations, timing of interhemispheric climate change and the resulting resumption of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-665
JournalNature
Volume430
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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leakage
ocean
deep water formation
North Atlantic Deep Water
thermohaline circulation
meridional circulation
teleconnection
water exchange
late glacial
insolation
foraminifera
monsoon
salt
ice
climate change
summer
history
basin
sediment
water

Cite this

Peeters, F.J.C. ; Acheson, R. ; Brummer, G.J.A. ; de Ruijter, W.P.M. ; Schneider, R.R. ; Ganssen, G.M. ; Ufkes, E. ; Kroon, D. / Vigorous exchange between the Indian and Atlantic oceans at the end of the past five glacial periods. In: Nature. 2004 ; Vol. 430. pp. 661-665.
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abstract = "The magnitude of heat and salt transfer between the Indian and Atlantic oceans through 'Agulhas leakage' is considered important for balancing the global thermohaline circulation. Increases or reductions of this leakage lead to strengthening or weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning and associated variation of North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Here we show that modern Agulhas waters, which migrate into the south Atlantic Ocean in the form of an Agulhas ring, contain a characteristic assemblage of planktic foraminifera. We use this assemblage as a modern analogue to investigate the Agulhas leakage history over the past 550,000 years from a sediment record in the Cape basin. Our reconstruction indicates that Indian-Atlantic water exchange was highly variable: enhanced during present and past interglacials and largely reduced during glacial intervals. Coherent variability of Agulhas leakage with northern summer insolation suggests a teleconnection to the monsoon system. The onset of increased Agulhas leakage during late glacial conditions took place when glacial ice volume was maximal, suggesting a crucial role for Agulhas leakage in glacial terminations, timing of interhemispheric climate change and the resulting resumption of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.",
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Vigorous exchange between the Indian and Atlantic oceans at the end of the past five glacial periods. / Peeters, F.J.C.; Acheson, R.; Brummer, G.J.A.; de Ruijter, W.P.M.; Schneider, R.R.; Ganssen, G.M.; Ufkes, E.; Kroon, D.

In: Nature, Vol. 430, 2004, p. 661-665.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Acheson, R.

AU - Brummer, G.J.A.

AU - de Ruijter, W.P.M.

AU - Schneider, R.R.

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AU - Kroon, D.

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AB - The magnitude of heat and salt transfer between the Indian and Atlantic oceans through 'Agulhas leakage' is considered important for balancing the global thermohaline circulation. Increases or reductions of this leakage lead to strengthening or weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning and associated variation of North Atlantic Deep Water formation. Here we show that modern Agulhas waters, which migrate into the south Atlantic Ocean in the form of an Agulhas ring, contain a characteristic assemblage of planktic foraminifera. We use this assemblage as a modern analogue to investigate the Agulhas leakage history over the past 550,000 years from a sediment record in the Cape basin. Our reconstruction indicates that Indian-Atlantic water exchange was highly variable: enhanced during present and past interglacials and largely reduced during glacial intervals. Coherent variability of Agulhas leakage with northern summer insolation suggests a teleconnection to the monsoon system. The onset of increased Agulhas leakage during late glacial conditions took place when glacial ice volume was maximal, suggesting a crucial role for Agulhas leakage in glacial terminations, timing of interhemispheric climate change and the resulting resumption of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

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