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Abrupt Cooling of Antarctic Surface Waters and Sea Ice Expansion in the South Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean at 5000 cal yr B.P.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

David A. Hodell
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611
Sharon L. Kanfoush
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611
Aldo Shemesh
Department of Environmental Sciences and Energy Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel
Xavier Crosta
Department of Environmental Sciences and Energy Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel
Christopher D. Charles
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 92093
Thomas P. Guilderson
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California, 94550


Antarctic surface waters were warm and ice free between 10,000 and 5000 cal yr B.P., as judged from ice-rafted debris and microfossils in a piston core at 53°S in the South Atlantic. This evidence shows that about 5000 cal yr B.P., sea surface temperatures cooled, sea ice advanced, and the delivery of ice-rafted detritus (IRD) to the subantarctic South Atlantic increased abruptly. These changes mark the end of the Hypsithermal and onset of Neoglacial conditions. They coincide with an early Neoglacial advance of mountain glaciers in South America and New Zealand between 5400 and 4900 cal yr B.P., rapid middle Holocene climate changes inferred from the Taylor Dome Ice Core (Antarctica), cooling and increased IRD in the North Atlantic, and the end of the African humid period. The near synchrony and abruptness of all these climate changes suggest links among the tropics and both poles that involved nonlinear response to gradual changes in Northern Hemisphere insolation. Sea ice expansion in the Southern Ocean may have provided positive feedback that hastened the end of the Hypsithermal and African humid periods in the middle Holocene.

Research Article
University of Washington

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