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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Erin McClymont

Elmore, A.C., McClymont, E.L., Elderfield, H., Kender, S., Cook, M.R., Leng, M.J., Greaves, M. & Misra, S. (2015). Antarctic Intermediate Water properties since 400 ka recorded in infaunal (Uvigerina peregrina) and epifaunal (Planulina wuellerstorfi) benthic foraminifera. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 428: 193-203.

Author(s) from Durham


Reconstruction of intermediate water properties is important for understanding feedbacks within the ocean-climate system, particularly since these water masses are capable of driving high–low latitude teleconnections. Nevertheless, information about intermediate water mass evolution through the late Pleistocene remains limited. This paper examines changes in Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), the most extensive intermediate water mass in the modern ocean through the last 400 kyr using the stable isotopic composition (δ18O and δ13C) and trace element concentration (Mg/Ca and B/Ca) of two benthic foraminiferal species from the same samples: epifaunal Planulina wuellerstorfi and infaunal Uvigerina peregrina. Our results confirm that the most reasonable estimates of AAIW temperature and Δ[CO2−3] are generated by Mg/CaU. peregrina and B/CaP. wuellerstorfi, respectively. We present a 400 kyr record of intermediate water temperature and Δ[CO2−3] from a sediment core from the Southwest Pacific (DSDP site 593; 40°30′S, 167°41′E, 1068 m water depth), which lies within the core of modern AAIW. Our results suggest that a combination of geochemical analyses on both infaunal and epifaunal benthic foraminiferal species yields important information about this critical water mass through the late Pleistocene. When combined with two nearby records of water properties from deeper depths, our data demonstrate that during interglacial stages of the late Pleistocene, AAIW and Circumpolar Deep Water (CPDW) have more similar water mass properties (temperature and δ13C), while glacial stages are typified by dissimilar properties between AAIW and CPDW in the Southwest Pacific. Our new Δ[CO2−3] record shows short time-scale variations, but a lack of coherent glacial–interglacial variability indicating that large quantities of carbon were not stored in intermediate waters during recent glacial periods.