The central problem of late Quaternary circulation in the South Atlantic is its role in transfer of heat to the North Atlantic, as this modifies amplitude, and perhaps phase, of glacial- interglacial fluctuations. Here we attempt to define the problem and establish ways to attack it. We identify several crucial elements in the dynamics of heat export: (1) warm-water pile-up (and lack thereof) in the western equatorial Atlantic, (2) general spin-up (or spin-down) of central gyre, tied to SE trades, (3) opening and closing of Cape Valve (Agulhas retroflection), (4) deepwater E-W asymmetry. Means for reconstruction are biogeography, stable isotopes, and productivity proxies. Main results concern overall glacial-interglacial contrast (less pile-up, more spin-up, Cape Valve closed, less NADW during glacial time), dominance of precessional signal in tropics, phase shifts in precessional response. To generate working hypotheses about the dynamics of surface water circulation in the South Atlantic we employ Croll’s paradigm that glacial - interglacial fluctuations are analogous to seasonal fluctuations. Our general picture for the last 300 kyrs is that, as concerns the South Atlantic, intensity of surface water (heat) transport depends on the strength of the SE trades. From various lines of evidence it appears that stronger SE trades appeared during glacials and cold substages during interglacials, analogous to conditions in southern winter (August).
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- Late Quaternary Surface Circulation of the South Atlantic: The Stable Isotope Record and Implications for Heat Transport and Productivity
W. H. Berger
S. Kemle von Mücke
P. J. Müller
R. R. Schneider
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg