A Cool, Nutrient-Enriched Eastern Equatorial Pacific During the Mid-Pleistocene Transition
Date of Original Version
The emergence of high-amplitude, low-frequency glacial-interglacial cycles during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition (MPT; 800–1,200 ka) is associated with global cooling. In the eastern equatorial Pacific, sea surface temperatures cooled, and the upwelling-induced cold tongue expanded significantly during the MPT. Here we use sedimentary records of iron, biogenic silica, and nutrient-nitrogen consumption to evaluate biogeochemical changes hypothesized to accompany the cold tongue expansion. Our results suggest that the eastern equatorial Pacific of the MPT hosted surface waters with higher nitrate contents and biogenic silica production relative to the last 600 ka. Increased production occurred despite low iron supply. We attribute this to enhanced upwelling and nutrient enrichment of thermocline waters, both likely related to the northward migration of Southern Ocean fronts. The return of these fronts to their southward positions after the MPT may be associated with stronger drawdown of nutrients and, potentially, atmospheric CO2 in the Southern Ocean.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Geophysical Research Letters
Robinson, Rebecca S., Colin A. Jones, Roger P. Kelly, Patrick Rafter, Johan Etourneau, and Philippe Martinez. "A Cool, Nutrient-Enriched Eastern Equatorial Pacific During the Mid-Pleistocene Transition." Geophysical Research Letters 46, 4 (2019). doi: 10.1029/2018GL081315.