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Western Arctic Ocean temperature variability during the last 8000 years

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  • Paleoclimate Science
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Geography


We reconstructed subsurface (∼200–400 m) ocean temperature and sea-ice cover in the Canada Basin, western Arctic Ocean from foraminiferal δ18O, ostracode Mg/Ca ratios, and dinocyst assemblages from two sediment core records covering the last 8000 years. Results show mean temperature varied from −1 to 0.5°C and −0.5 to 1.5°C at 203 and 369 m water depths, respectively. Centennial-scale warm periods in subsurface temperature records correspond to reductions in summer sea-ice cover inferred from dinocyst assemblages around 6.5 ka, 3.5 ka, 1.8 ka and during the 15th century Common Era. These changes may reflect centennial changes in the temperature and/or strength of inflowing Atlantic Layer water originating in the eastern Arctic Ocean. By comparison, the 0.5 to 0.7°C warm temperature anomaly identified in oceanographic records from the Atlantic Layer of the Canada Basin exceeded reconstructed Atlantic Layer temperatures for the last 1200 years by about 0.5°C.

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