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  1. The cyclic growth and decay of continental ice sheets can be reconstructed from the history of global sea level. Sea level is relatively well constrained for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 26,500 to 19,000 y ago, 26.5 to 19 ka) and the ensuing deglaciation. However, sea-level estimates for the period of ice-sheet growth before the LGM vary by > 60 m, an uncertainty comparable to the sea-level equivalent of the contemporary Antarctic Ice Sheet. Here, we constrain sea level prior to the LGM by reconstructing the flooding history of the shallow Bering Strait since 46 ka. Using a geochemical proxy of Pacific nutrient input to the Arctic Ocean, we find that the Bering Strait was flooded from the beginning of our records at 46 ka until 35.7 - 2.4 + 3.3 ka. To match this flooding history, our sea-level model requires an ice history in which over 50% of the LGM’s global peak ice volume grew after 46 ka. This finding implies that global ice volume and climate were not linearly coupled during the last ice age, with implications for the controls on each. Moreover, our results shorten the time window between the opening of the Bering Land Bridge and the arrival of humans in the Americas. 
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  3. Abstract During glacial terminations, massive iceberg discharges and meltwater pulses in the North Atlantic triggered a shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Speleothem calcium carbonate oxygen isotope records (δ 18 O Cc ) indicate that the collapse of the AMOC caused dramatic changes in the distribution and variability of the East Asian and Indian monsoon rainfall. However, the mechanisms linking changes in the intensity of the AMOC and Asian monsoon δ 18 O Cc are not fully understood. Part of the challenge arises from the fact that speleothem δ 18 O Cc depends on not only the δ 18 O of precipitation but also temperature and kinetic isotope effects. Here we quantitatively deconvolve these parameters affecting δ 18 O Cc by applying three geochemical techniques in speleothems covering the penultimate glacial termination. Our data suggest that the weakening of the AMOC during meltwater pulse 2A caused substantial cooling in East Asia and a shortening of the summer monsoon season, whereas the collapse of the AMOC during meltwater pulse 2B (133,000 years ago) also caused a dramatic decrease in the intensity of the Indian summer monsoon. These results reveal that the different modes of the AMOC produced distinct impacts on the monsoon system. 
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  4. Nitrogen isotope ratios in fossil teeth place extinct megatooth sharks at the top of the marine food web. 
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  5. Abstract

    Salinity-driven density stratification of the upper Arctic Ocean isolates sea-ice cover and cold, nutrient-poor surface waters from underlying warmer, nutrient-rich waters. Recently, stratification has strengthened in the western Arctic but has weakened in the eastern Arctic; it is unknown if these trends will continue. Here we present foraminifera-bound nitrogen isotopes from Arctic Ocean sediments since 35,000 years ago to reconstruct past changes in nutrient sources and the degree of nutrient consumption in surface waters, the latter reflecting stratification. During the last ice age and early deglaciation, the Arctic was dominated by Atlantic-sourced nitrate and incomplete nitrate consumption, indicating weaker stratification. Starting at 11,000 years ago in the western Arctic, there is a clear isotopic signal of Pacific-sourced nitrate and complete nitrate consumption associated with the flooding of the Bering Strait. These changes reveal that the strong stratification of the western Arctic relies on low-salinity inflow through the Bering Strait. In the central Arctic, nitrate consumption was complete during the early Holocene, then declined after 5,000 years ago as summer insolation decreased. This sequence suggests that precipitation and riverine freshwater fluxes control the stratification of the central Arctic Ocean. Based on these findings, ongoing warming will cause strong stratification to expand into the central Arctic, slowing the nutrient supply to surface waters and thus limiting future phytoplankton productivity.

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  6. Abstract

    Ocean circulation supplies the surface ocean with the nutrients that fuel global ocean productivity. However, the mechanisms and rates of water and nutrient transport from the deep ocean to the upper ocean are poorly known. Here, we use the nitrogen isotopic composition of nitrate to place observational constraints on nutrient transport from the Southern Ocean surface into the global pycnocline (roughly the upper 1.2 km), as opposed to directly from the deep ocean. We estimate that 62 ± 5% of the pycnocline nitrate and phosphate originate from the Southern Ocean. Mixing, as opposed to advection, accounts for most of the gross nutrient input to the pycnocline. However, in net, mixing carries nutrients away from the pycnocline. Despite the quantitative dominance of mixing in the gross nutrient transport, the nutrient richness of the pycnocline relies on the large-scale advective flow, through which nutrient-rich water is converted to nutrient-poor surface water that eventually flows to the North Atlantic.

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