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Title: Strength and variability of the Oligocene Southern Ocean surface temperature gradient
Abstract Large Oligocene Antarctic ice sheets co-existed with warm proximal waters offshore Wilkes Land. Here we provide a broader Southern Ocean perspective to such warmth by reconstructing the strength and variability of the Oligocene Australian-Antarctic latitudinal sea surface temperature gradient. Our Oligocene TEX 86 -based sea surface temperature record from offshore southern Australia shows temperate (20–29 °C) conditions throughout, despite northward tectonic drift. A persistent sea surface temperature gradient (~5–10 °C) exists between Australia and Antarctica, which increases during glacial intervals. The sea surface temperature gradient increases from ~26 Ma, due to Antarctic-proximal cooling. Meanwhile, benthic foraminiferal oxygen isotope decline indicates ice loss/deep-sea warming. These contrasting patterns are difficult to explain by greenhouse gas forcing alone. Timing of the sea surface temperature cooling coincides with deepening of Drake Passage and matches results of ocean model experiments that demonstrate that Drake Passage opening cools Antarctic proximal waters. We conclude that Drake Passage deepening cooled Antarctic coasts which enhanced thermal isolation of Antarctica.
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1842059
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10416492
Journal Name:
Communications Earth & Environment
Volume:
3
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2662-4435
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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