Glazial/interglaziale Variabilität der Wassermassenstruktur und der biologischen Produktion im pazifischen Sektor des Südozeans

Erfassung von Mechanismen mit Einfluss auf den Atmosphären-Ozean CO2-Gasaustausch, Synthese von Klima- und biogeochemischer Modellierung mit Paläoproxy-Rekonstruktionen



Dr. Andrea Abelmann
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Professor Dr. Birgit Schneider
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Geowissenschaften



Atmospheric CO2 concentrations present a repetitive pattern of gradual decline and rapid increase during the last climate cycles, closely related to temperature and sea level change. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 23-19 kyr BP), when sea level was ca. 120 m below present, the ocean must have stored additionally about 750 Gt carbon. There is consensus that the Southern Ocean represents a key area governing past and present CO2 change. The latter is not only of high scientific but also of socio-economic and political concern since the Southern Ocean provides the potential for an efficient sink of anthropogenic carbon. However, the sensitivity of this carbon sink to climate-change induced reorganizations in wind patterns, ocean circulation, stratification, sea ice extent and biological production remains under debate. Models were not yet able to reproduce the necessary mechanisms involved, potentially due to a lack of the dynamic representation/resolution of atmospheric and oceanic circulation as well as missing carbon cycling. Data on past Southern Ocean hydrography and productivity are mainly from the Atlantic sector, thus do not adequately document conditions in the Pacific sector. This sector is not only the largest part of the Southern Ocean, but it also represents the main drainage area of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). In the proposed study we aim to generate paleo-data sets with a newly established proxy method from sediment core transects across the Pacific Southern Ocean. This will enhance the baselines for the understanding and modeling of the Southern Ocean´s role in carbon cyling, i.e. ocean/atmosphere CO2 exchange and carbon sequestration. It will also allow insight into the response of the WAIS to past warmer than present conditions. Paired isotope measurements (oxygen, silicon) will be made on purified diatoms and radiolarians to describe glacial/interglacial contrasts in physical and nutrient properties at surface and subsurface water depth. This will be used to test (i) the impact of yet unconsidered dust-borne micronutrient deposition on the glacial South Pacific on shifts of primary productivity, Si-uptake rates and carbon export, (ii) the “silicic-acid leakage” hypothesis (SALH) and (iii) the formation and extent of surface water stratification. Diatom and radiolarian oxygen isotopes will provide information on the timing of surface ocean salinity anomalies resulting from WAIS melt water. Climate model simulations using a complex coupled atmosphere ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) in combination with a sophisticated ocean biogeochemical model including Si-isotopes will be used for comparison with the paleo records. The analysis will cover spatial as well as temporal variability patterns of Southern Ocean hydrography, nutrient cycling and air-sea CO2-exchange. With the help of the climate model we aim to better separate and statistically analyse the individual impacts of ocean circulation and biological production on the air-sea CO2-exchange.


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