Robustness of the Atlantic-Pacific flow reversal in the early miocene E. Bernsen and H. A. Dijkstra Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Received: 30 September 2010 – Accepted: 11 October 2010 – Published: 09 November 2010
Abstract. Based on modeling results and interpretations of observations, it has been suggested that
during the early Miocene, a reversal of the Atlantic-Pacific ocean flow through the Panama Strait has
occurred. During the Oligocene the net transport was westward, from the Atlantic into the Pacific,
whereas in the Miocene the sign of this transport likely reversed to a net eastward transport into
the Atlantic. With a global ocean model for the Oligocene and Miocene continental configurations
we study the robustness of this flow reversal by carrying out a broad sensitivity analysis, including
bottom topography, details of the continental geometry and surface forcing. This sensitivity study is
efficiently done by using recent methodology to compute equilibrium solutions to the model. The
Atlantic-Pacific flow reversal appears a very robust feature of the global ocean model.
Citation: Bernsen, E. and Dijkstra, H. A.: Robustness of the Atlantic-Pacific flow reversal in the early miocene, Clim. Past Discuss., 6, 2483-2516, doi:10.5194/cpd-6-2483-2010, 2010.