Orbital- and millennial-scale Antarctic Circumpolar Current variability in Drake Passage over the past 140,000 years


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Gerhard.Kuhn [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) plays a crucial role in global ocean circulation by fostering deep-water upwelling and formation of new water masses. On geological timescales, ACC variations are poorly constrained beyond the last glacial. Here, we reconstruct changes in ACC strength in the central Drake Passage in vicinity of the modern Polar Front over a complete glacial-interglacial cycle (i.e., the past 140,000 years), based on sediment grain-size and geochemical characteristics. We found significant glacial-interglacial changes of ACC flow speed, with weakened current strength during glacials and a stronger circulation in interglacials. Superimposed on these orbital-scale changes are high-amplitude millennialscale fluctuations, with ACC strength maxima correlating with diatom-based Antarctic winter sea-ice minima, particularly during full glacial conditions. We infer that the ACC is closely linked to Southern Hemisphere millennial-scale climate oscillations, amplified through Antarctic sea ice extent changes. These strong ACC variations modulated Pacific-Atlantic water exchange via the “cold water route” and potentially affected the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and marine carbon storage.



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Article
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Primary Division
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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
54280
DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-24264-9

Cite as
Wu, S. , Lembke-Jene, L. , Lamy, F. , Arz, H. W. , Nowaczyk, N. , Xiao, W. , Zhang, X. , Hass, H. C. , Titschack, J. , Zheng, X. , Liu, J. , Dumm, L. , Diekmann, B. , Nürnberg, D. , Tiedemann, R. and Kuhn, G. (2021): Orbital- and millennial-scale Antarctic Circumpolar Current variability in Drake Passage over the past 140,000 years , Nature Communications, 12 (1), pp. 1-9 . doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24264-9


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