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Title: Enhanced Poleward Flux of Atmospheric Moisture to the Weddell Sea Region (ODP Site 690) During the Paleocene‐Eocene Thermal Maximum

Earth's hydrological cycle was profoundly perturbed by massive carbon emissions during an ancient (56 Ma) global warming event referred to as the Paleocene‐Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). One approach to gaining valuable insight into the response of the hydrological cycle is to construct sea‐surface salinity (SSS) records that can be used to gauge changes in the rates of evaporation and precipitation during the PETM in such climatically sensitive areas as the circum‐Antarctic region. Here, we pair oxygen isotope (δ18O) and magnesium‐calcium (Mg/Ca) measurements to reconstruct PETM sea‐surface temperatures (SSTs) and δ18O composition of seawater (δ18Osw) at austral Site 690 (Weddell Sea). Several discrepancies emerge between the δ18O‐ and Mg/Ca‐based SST records, with the latter indicating that the earliest PETM was punctuated by a short‐lived ~4°C increase in local SSTs. Conversion of the δ18Oswvalues to SSS reveals a ~4 ppt decrease ~50 ka after peak PETM warming at Site 690. This negative SSS (δ18Osw) anomaly coincides with a prominent minimum in the planktic foraminifer δ18O record published for the Site 690 PETM section. Thus, our revised interpretation posits that this δ18O minimum signals a decrease in surface‐ocean δ18Oswfostered by a transient increase in mean annual precipitation in the Weddell Sea region. The results of this study corroborate the view that the poleward flux of atmospheric moisture temporarily increased during a distinctive stage of the PETM.

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Award ID(s):
1658823 2004618
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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