Deglacial to Holocene biomarker records of terrigenous input and sea surface temperature in the NW Pacific and the western Bering Sea

vera.meyer [ at ]


Polar regions are strongly affected by global climate change since warming is projected to be strongest in high latitudes. Understanding temperature changes is crucial to unravel the impact of climate change there. Rising sea surface temperatures (SST) modify oceanographic conditions of the polar and subpolar seas. In the northern hemisphere, increasing mean annual air temperatures (MAAT) lead to thawing of permafrost soils which may initiate release of vast amounts of fossil carbon to the environment. In order to study changes in SST, MAAT and the intensity of carbon export from East Siberia to the adjacent NW Pacific and Bering Sea over the last deglaciation we analyzed terrigenous and marine biomarkers (n-alkanes, branched GDGT & isoprenoid GDGTs) from two sediment cores recovered at the continental margin off Kamchatka peninsula (NW Pacific), and from the western Bering Sea. We test the applicability of TEX86 as a tool for SST-reconstructions over the last deglaciation and thereby produce a TEX86 based SST-record in the Bering Sea. The results are compared to Uk’37 and Mg/Ca based SST. The TEX86 record is interpreted to reflect summer subsurface temperatures. We further investigate the CBT/MBT indices calculated from the branched GDGTs as well as δD of n-alkanes as tools for the reconstruction of MAAT. MAAT based on CBT/MBT shows a pattern similar to Greenland ice core temperature records with cooling events during the Heinrich Event 1 (HE1) and the Younger Dryas (YD). The results for the late Holocene match the modern MAAT of Kamchatka peninsula. However, from the Last Glacial Maximum to the onset of the Bølling/Allerød interstadial (B/A) CBT/MBT produces unrealistic temperatures that are as high as during Holocene. Possibly the record shows summer temperatures during LGM and the early deglaciation and reflects the annual mean at the beginning of the B/A. When interpreting these findings one has to keep in mind that concentrations of branched GDGT are very low (BIT lower than 0.1). Thus it is questionable whether CBT/MBT can be used as temperature proxy since the signal may be affected by in-situ production. In contrast to the CBT/MBT our δD records have hardly no similarity with Greenland ice core data. The B/A does not differ from LGM conditions but there is a slight decrease during YD. While the record of the Bering Sea shows an abrupt increase of 40 ‰ during the early Holocene the NW-Pacific shows a gradual increase of the same magnitude over the whole Holocene period. During the HE1 both records show a sharp increase reaching the Holocene level. This indicates interglacial-like temperatures which is unrealistic for stadial conditions. Coeval changes in the CPI and n-C23/n-C27 indicate that δD is overprinted by a change in the carbon source. Potential explanations include redeposition of material mobilized during deglacial sea-level rise, or release of fossil carbon from permafrost. Terrigenous biomarkers were quantified and used to study the history of carbon export. Accumulation rates of n-alkanes and branched GDGT increase during the YD and are strikingly high during the Preboreal indicating enhanced carbon mobilization. Decomposing permafrost soils in East Siberia and on the Kamchatka peninsula is a likely carbon source.

Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Research Networks
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Event Details
Gordon Research Conference on Organic Geochemistry, 28 Jul 2014 - 01 Aug 2014, New Hampshire, USA.
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Meyer, V. , Tiedemann, R. , Max, L. , Hefter, J. , Schefuß, E. and Mollenhauer, G. (2014): Deglacial to Holocene biomarker records of terrigenous input and sea surface temperature in the NW Pacific and the western Bering Sea , Gordon Research Conference on Organic Geochemistry, New Hampshire, USA, 28 July 2014 - 1 August 2014 .

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