Agulhas leakage as a key process in the modes of Quaternary climate changes

Abstract : Heat and salt transfer from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean (Agulhas leakage) has an important effect on the global thermo-haline circulation and climate. The lack of long transfer record prevents elucidation of its role on climate changes throughout the Quaternary. Here, we present a 1,350-ka accumulation rate record of the planktic foraminiferal species Globorotalia menardii. We demonstrate that, according to previous assumptions, the presence and reseeding of this fauna in the subtropical southeast Atlantic was driven by interocean exchange south of Africa. The Agulhas transfer strengthened at glacial ice-volume maxima for every glacial-interglacial transition, with maximum reinforcements organized according to a 400-ka periodicity. The long-term dynamics of Agulhas leakage may have played a crucial role in regulating meridional overturning circulation and global climate changes during the Mid-Brunhes event and the Mid-Pleistocene transition, and could also play an important role in the near future.
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Thibaut Caley, Jacques Giraudeau, Bruno Malaizé, Linda Rossignol, Catherine Pierre. Agulhas leakage as a key process in the modes of Quaternary climate changes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , National Academy of Sciences, 2012, 109 (18), pp.6835-6839. ⟨hal-02129096⟩

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