Meltwater Input to the Southern Ocean During the Last Glacial Maximum

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Science  02 Dec 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5190, pp. 1542-1544
DOI: 10.1126/science.266.5190.1542


Three records of oxygen isotopes in biogenic silica from deep-sea sediment cores from the Atlantic and Indian sectors of the Southern Ocean reveal the presence of isotopically depleted diatomaceous opal in sediment from the last glacial maximum. This depletion is attributed to the presence of lids of meltwater that mixed with surface water along certain trajectories in the Southern Ocean. An increase in the drainage from Antarctica or extensive northward transport of icebergs are among the main mechanisms that could have produced the increase in meltwater input to the glacial Southern Ocean. Similar isotopic trends were observed in older climatic cycles at the same cores.