Ostracode Mg/Ca paleothermometry in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans: evaluation of a carbonate ion effect

The reconstruction of deep-sea bottom water temperature (BWT) is important to assess the ocean’s response to and role in orbital- and millennial-scale climate change. Deep-sea paleothermometry employs magnesium to calcium (Mg/Ca) ratios in calcitic benthic microfaunas (foraminifera, ostracodes) as a primary proxy method. Mg/Ca paleothermometry may, however, be complicated by bottom water carbonate ion chemistry, which might affect Mg/Ca ratios in shells. To address temperature and carbonate ion influence on Mg/Ca ratios, we studied Mg/Ca ratios in the benthic ostracode genus Krithe in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans using a 686-specimen core top collection, including 412 previously unpublished analyses. Mg/Ca ratios are positively correlated to temperature in multiple species from the North Atlantic [BWT = (0.885 × Mg/Ca) − 5.69, r2 = 0.73] and for K. glacialis in the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas [BWT = (0.439 × Mg/Ca) − 5.14, r2 = 0.50], consistent with previously published calibrations. We found no evidence for a relationship between Krithe Mg/Ca and carbonate ion saturation in the North Atlantic Ocean, Nordic Seas, and Arctic Ocean, supporting the use of Krithe Mg/Ca for reconstructing past BWT.

Farmer J. R., Cronin T. M. & Dwyer G. S., 2012. Ostracode Mg/Ca paleothermometry in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans: evaluation of a carbonate ion effect. Paleoceanography 27: PA2212. doi: 10.1029/2012PA002305. Article (subscription required).


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