Tropical North Atlantic subsurface warming events as a fingerprint for AMOC variability during Marine Isotope Stage 3 Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The role of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) as the driver of Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) variability that characterized Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) has long been hypothesized. Although there is ample proxy evidence suggesting that DO events were robust features of glacial climate, there is little data supporting a link with AMOC. Recently, modeling studies and subsurface temperature reconstructions have suggested that subsurface warming across the tropical North Atlantic can be used to fingerprint a weakened AMOC during the deglacial because a reduction in the strength of the western boundary current allows warm salinity maximum water of the subtropical gyre to enter the deep tropics. To determine if AMOC variability played a role during the DO cycles of MIS 3, we present new, high-resolution Mg/Ca and 18O records spanning 24-52 kyr from the near-surface dwelling planktonic foraminifera Globigerinoides ruber and the lower thermocline dwelling planktonic foraminifera Globorotalia truncatulinoides in Southern Caribbean core VM12-107 (11.33N, 66.63W, 1079 m depth). Our subsurface Mg/Ca record reveals abrupt increases in Mg/Ca ratios (the largest equal to a 4C warming) during the interstadial-stadial transition of most DO events during this period. This change is consistent with reconstructions of subsurface warming events associated with cold events across the deglacial using the same core. Additionally, our data support the conclusion reached by a recently published study from the Florida Straits that AMOC did not undergo significant reductions during Heinrich events 2 and 3. This record presents some of the first high-resolution marine sediment derived evidence for variable AMOC during MIS 3.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 2.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Parker, A. O., Schmidt, M. W., & Chang, P.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Parker, Andrew O||Schmidt, Matthew W||Chang, Ping

publication date

  • November 2015