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Early Pliocene onset of modern Nordic Seas circulation related to ocean gateway changes

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Title
Early Pliocene onset of modern Nordic Seas circulation related to ocean gateway changes
Authors
Schepper, Stijn De
Schreck, Michael
Beck, Kristina Marie
Matthiessen, Jens
Fahl, Kirsten
Mangerud, Gunn
Subject
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Keywords
Climate science; Climate science; Marine Palynology; Oceanography; Early Pliocene
Issue Date
2015
Citation
Schepper, Stijn De., et al. 2015. Early Pliocene onset of modern Nordic Seas circulation related to ocean gateway changes. Nature Communications, 6(86591): 1-8.
Abstract
The globally warm climate of the early Pliocene gradually cooled from 4 million years ago, synchronous with decreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In contrast, palaeoceanographic records indicate that the Nordic Seas cooled during the earliest Pliocene, before global cooling. However, a lack of knowledge regarding the precise timing of Nordic Seas cooling has limited our understanding of the governing mechanisms. Here, using marine palynology, we show that cooling in the Nordic Seas was coincident with the first trans-Arctic migration of cool-water Pacific mollusks around 4.5 million years ago, and followed by the development of a modern-like Nordic Seas surface circulation. Nordic Seas cooling precedes global cooling by 500,000 years; as such, we propose that reconfiguration of the Bering Strait and Central American Seaway triggered the development of a modern circulation in the Nordic Seas, which is essential for North Atlantic Deep Water formation and a precursor for more widespread Greenland glaciation in the late Pliocene.
DOI
10.1038/ncomms9659
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