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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Erin McClymont

Risebrobakken, B., Andersson, C., De Schepper, S. & McClymont, E.L. (2016). Low-frequency Pliocene climate variability in the eastern Nordic Seas. Paleoceanography 31(9): 1154-1175.

Author(s) from Durham


The Pliocene (5.3–2.6 Ma) is often described as a relatively stable climatic period, with warm temperatures characterizing high latitudes. New suborbital resolved stable isotope records from ODP Hole 642B in the Eastern Nordic Seas document that the Pliocene was not a stable period characterized by one climate. Rather, seven distinct climate phases, each lasting between 150,000 and 400,000 years, are identified and characterized in the time interval 5.1–3.1 Ma. Four of the transitions between the defined climate phases occurred close to an eccentricity minimum and a minimum in amplitude of change for Northern Hemisphere summer insolation, while two occurred around an eccentricity maximum and a maximum in amplitude in insolation change. Hence, a low frequency response of the Nordic Seas to insolation forcing is indicated. In addition, paleogeographic and related paleoceanographic changes, expansion of the Arctic sea ice cover and onset of NHG were important factors behind the evolving Pliocene low frequency variability in the eastern Nordic Seas. It is likely that the identified climate phases and transitions are important beyond the Nordic Seas, due to their association with changes to both insolation and paleogeography. Also, a strong and variable degree of diagenetic calcite overgrowth is documented for the planktic foraminifera, especially influencing the planktic δ18O results; the absolute values and amplitude of change cannot be taken at face value.