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Christof Pearce

Variable influx of West Greenland Current water into the Labrador Current through the last 8000 years, based on a multiproxy study from Trinity Bay, NE Newfoundland

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This multi-proxy study of marine sediment gravity core AI07-06G from Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, recorded changes in the strength of the Labrador Current (LC) during the Holocene. From ca. 8-5 cal kyr BP, Trinity Bay's seafloor was influenced by cooled Atlantic water derived from the West Greenland Current (WGC) Davis Strait branch, merging into the relatively cold LC. This Atlantic water influence gradually decreased after ca. 6 cal kyr BP, reaching a minimum at 5 cal kyr BP. In contrast, surface temperatures were relatively low due to cold surface water dominated by sea ice and meltwater carried south by the LC. Icebergs from outlet glaciers around Baffin Bay were abundant in the LC prior to ca. 5.5-6 cal kyr BP. From ca. 5–3.5 cal kyr BP, bottom waters became slightly colder and salinity decreased, as increased mixing of the water column brought less saline surface waters toward the seafloor. This may be explained by a weaker North Atlantic subpolar gyre, transporting less Atlantic Water from the WGC to the (outer) LC. Arctic meltwater transport was reduced as glacial melting decreased at the end of the Holocene Thermal Optimum. At ca. 3 cal kyr BP, bottom waters returned to colder, more stable conditions, indicating a slight decrease in bottom-water ventilation. After ca. 2.2 cal kyr BP surface water temperatures dropped and sea ice flux increased. The seafloor of Trinity Bay saw warmer conditions, consistent with a stronger subpolar gyre and increased influx of Atlantic-sourced water.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2015

    Research areas

  • Holocene, Labrador Current, Gulf Stream, North Atlantic subpolar gyre, Arctic meltwater

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