Modelling ocean circulation, climate and oxygen isotopes in the ocean over the last 120 000 years
R. Marsh1, M. P. L. M. Smith1, E. J. Rohling1, D. J. Lunt2, T. M. Lenton3,4, M. S. Williamson3,4,*, and A. Yool11National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, UK 2Bristol Research Initiative for the Dynamic Global Environment (BRIDGE), School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, UK 3School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK 4Tyndall Centre, University of East Anglia, UK *now at: Quantum Information Group, University of Leeds, UK
Received: 25 Aug 2006 – Discussion started: 04 Sep 2006
Abstract. A new Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity, GENIE-1, is used to simulate the most recent glacial-interglacial cycle by prescribing orbital forcing, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and the time evolution of ice sheet extent and orography. A series of experiments investigates uncertainty in the amplitude, frequency and location of prescribed meltwater pulses (MWPs) associated with Heinrich events in the North Atlantic and layers enriched in ice rafted debris around Antarctica. Associated with each MWP is a flux into the ocean of very light glacial oxygen isotope ratios, which serve as a tracer of the melt water. Additionally accounted for are temperature-related changes in the fractionation of stable oxygen isotopes between water and calcite. Modelled forwards from 120 000 years ago, simulated oxygen isotope records can thus be directly compared with measurements in calcite taken from International Marine Global Change Study (IMAGES) and Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) sediment cores at three locations representative of the North and South Atlantic, and the South Pacific. During the period of simulation corresponding to Marine Isotope Stage 3, the best agreement between the simulated oxygen isotope record in the North Atlantic and core measurements is found in the experiment that includes MWPs around Antarctica as well as into the North Atlantic. This challenges previous assumptions about the dominant role of northern ice sheets in glacial sea-level variability.
Marsh, R., Smith, M. P. L. M., Rohling, E. J., Lunt, D. J., Lenton, T. M., Williamson, M. S., and Yool, A.: Modelling ocean circulation, climate and oxygen isotopes in the ocean over the last 120 000 years, Clim. Past Discuss., 2, 657-709, doi:10.5194/cpd-2-657-2006, 2006.