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The emergence of 100-Kyr glacial cycles (The Mid-Pleistocene Transition [MPT]) is attributed in part to slower global overturning circulation and iron stimulation of biological carbon drawdown in the Southern Ocean. We present foraminifera-bound nitrogen isotope values and polar planktic foraminifera abundances from the Agulhas Plateau that show that increases in biogenic sediment accumulation coincide with northward migrations of the Subtropical Frontal Zone (STFZ) and elevated foraminifera-bound nitrogen isotope values during MPT glacial episodes. The nitrogen isotope values of two planktic foraminifera species, Globigerina bulloides and Globorotalia inflata show remarkable coherence amongst the sea surface temperature gradient between the STFZ and SAZ, and polar foraminifera abundances, indicating a strong relationship between nitrogen isotope dynamics above the Agulhas Plateau and migrations of the STFZ. Northward migration of the STFZ may have been essential to prolonging glacial intervals by increasing deep ocean carbon storage via a northward shift of the South Westerly Winds and a reduction in upwelling, delivery of fresher surface waters into the upper limb of global overturning circulation, or inhibiting heat and salt delivery to the Atlantic as Agulhas Leakage.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology





Robinson_R_GlacialSouthern_2023_SuppInfo.pdf (1328 kB)
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