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Title: A 250‐Year, Decadally Resolved, Radiocarbon Time History in the Gulf of Maine Reveals a Hydrographic Regime Shift at the End of the Little Ice Age

In order to document relative changes in water mass contributions in the Gulf of Maine (GoM), we used the shell material of the long‐lived ocean quahog (Arctica islandica). A multicentury, crossdated master shell growth chronology facilitated the reconstruction of a radiocarbon Δ14C history prior to the radiocarbon bomb‐pulse of the 1950s. This reconstruction reveals a highly variable Δ14C series (mean = −56.6 ± 8.0‰ (1σ);N = 34) from CE 1685 to 1935. Δ14C values indicate a rapid shift ca. 1860 CE in source waters to the GoM. From CE 1685 to 1860, GoM waters were dominated by an admixture of Warm Slope Water primarily composed of tropical Atlantic surface waters/Gulf Stream Waters, and Scotian Shelf Water. This water regime was followed by a rapid Δ14C transition to a Labrador Slope Water endmember after CE 1860, with an apparent decrease in Scotian Shelf Water. Together, this shift is likely related to broader changes in the Arctic and the Labrador Sea, and a short‐term strengthening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Labrador Slope Water dominating GoM hydrography in the 1900s is verified by the similarities between this record and other coral‐ and shell‐derived Δ14C records influenced by waters with Labrador Sea origin. This suggests that GoM radiocarbon variability broadly reflects large‐scale ocean circulation processes in the Northwestern Atlantic. The lack of Δ14C values much below the Labrador Slope Water endmember suggests that the interior GoM gets very little to no Antarctic Intermediate Water as other studies had previously suggested.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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