Project Title North Atlantic Meridional Circulation during the Last Glacial Maximum: Density Structure and Pre-formed Nitrate: Phase I
Acronym AMOC Last Glacial Max
Created September 18, 2015
Modified September 18, 2015

Project Description

Description from NSF award abstract:
The large-scale conveyor-belt-like circulation of the Atlantic Ocean (the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC) significantly affects climate via its heat flux and its impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. A number of lines of evidence suggest that the structure of the circulation was different during the last ice age, however these reconstructions are indirect. Sedimentary pore waters in the deep sea preserve ancient seawater, and offer the possibility of more directly documenting how AMOC of the last glacial maximum differed from that of the present.

This project, led by a team of researchers from the University of Rhode Island, will address these fundamental questions about the links between ocean circulation and climate change. Specifically, funding supports a month-long research expedition to collect long sediment cores along a transect between Puerto Rico and New England. Coring sites would range in depth from 1 to more than 5 km. Coring targets will be chosen with a combination of multibeam swath bathymetry, seafloor backscatter, and CHIRP sub-bottom seismic data. The team would analyze the composition (chloride, dissolved oxygen, and nitrate concentrations) of pore waters in the recovered sediments shipboard to detect the relict signal of deep water chemistry during the last glacial maximum. These measurements will allow the researchers to directly test the influence of glacial circulation on climate (via the pre-formed nitrate content of deep and intermediate water in the LGM North Atlantic). The expedition will include several graduate and undergraduate students, offering a valuable training activity and a strong educational experience.

Data Project Maintainers

Arthur J. SpivackUniversity of Rhode Island (URI-GSO)Principal Investigator
Steven L. D'HondtUniversity of Rhode Island (URI-GSO)Co-Principal Investigator
Robert PockalnyUniversity of Rhode Island (URI-GSO)Co-Principal Investigator