The Deep Ocean During the Last Interglacial Period

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Science  06 Apr 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5821, pp. 89-91
DOI: 10.1126/science.1138582

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Oxygen isotope analysis of benthic foraminifera in deep sea cores from the Atlantic and Southern Oceans shows that during the last interglacial period, North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) was 0.4° ± 0.2°C warmer than today, whereas Antarctic Bottom Water temperatures were unchanged. Model simulations show that this distribution of deep water temperatures can be explained as a response of the ocean to forcing by high-latitude insolation. The warming of NADW was transferred to the Circumpolar Deep Water, providing additional heat around Antarctica, which may have been responsible for partial melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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