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Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates

Ferrari, Raffaele and Jansen, Malte F. and Adkins, Jess F. and Burke, Andrea and Stewart, Andrew L. and Thompson, Andrew F. (2014) Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (24). pp. 8753-8758. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC4066517.

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In the modern climate, the ocean below 2 km is mainly filled by waters sinking into the abyss around Antarctica and in the North Atlantic. Paleoproxies indicate that waters of North Atlantic origin were instead absent below 2 km at the Last Glacial Maximum, resulting in an expansion of the volume occupied by Antarctic origin waters. In this study we show that this rearrangement of deep water masses is dynamically linked to the expansion of summer sea ice around Antarctica. A simple theory further suggests that these deep waters only came to the surface under sea ice, which insulated them from atmospheric forcing, and were weakly mixed with overlying waters, thus being able to store carbon for long times. This unappreciated link between the expansion of sea ice and the appearance of a voluminous and insulated water mass may help quantify the ocean’s role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide on glacial–interglacial timescales. Previous studies pointed to many independent changes in ocean physics to account for the observed swings in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Here it is shown that many of these changes are dynamically linked and therefore must co-occur.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Supplement CentralArticle
Ferrari, Raffaele0000-0003-1895-4294
Adkins, Jess F.0000-0002-3174-5190
Burke, Andrea0000-0002-3754-1498
Stewart, Andrew L.0000-0001-5861-4070
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Additional Information:© 2014 National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option. Published online before print June 2, 2014. Edited by Edward A. Boyle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and approved April 16, 2014 (received for review December 31, 2013). L.P. Nadeau helped with figures. All authors acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation. R.F. acknowledges support from the Breene M. Kerr Chair. Author contributions: R.F. designed research; R.F., M.F.J., J.A., A.B., A.L.S., and A.F.T. performed research; R.F. and M.F.J. analyzed data; and R.F. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This Direct Submission article had a prearranged editor. This article contains supporting information online at
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Breene M. Kerr ChairUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:carbon cycle, ice age, ocean circulation, paleoceanography, Southern Ocean
Issue or Number:24
PubMed Central ID:PMC4066517
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140610-103156370
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Official Citation:Raffaele Ferrari, Malte F. Jansen, Jess F. Adkins, Andrea Burke, Andrew L. Stewart, and Andrew F. Thompson Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates PNAS 2014 111 (24) 8753-8758; published ahead of print June 2, 2014, doi:10.1073/pnas.1323922111
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46175
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:10 Jun 2014 17:57
Last Modified:09 Oct 2019 20:34

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