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Orbital and Suborbital Climate Variability during the Pliocene Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation

Orbital and Suborbital Climate Variability during the Pliocene Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation
Orbital and Suborbital Climate Variability during the Pliocene Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation
The late Pliocene is marked by the end of an interval of warm, relatively stable global climate and a
secular shift into a bipolar glaciated world. The intensification of northern hemisphere glaciation
(iNHG) central to this climatic transition was accompanied by a decrease in atmospheric
carbon dioxide concentrations and commenced around 3.5 million years ago. The climate
forcing and response mechanisms involved in the iNHG are subjects of ongoing debate in the
palaeoclimate literature. In this thesis, I reconstruct palaeoproductivity and suborbital climate
fluctuations during this important interval, with particular focus on the first three consecutive,
large, obliquity-paced glacial-interglacial cycles (marine isotope stages, MIS, 101-95), using proxy
methods applied to deep-sea sediments in the equatorial oceans and the North Atlantic. In this
way, I evaluate the forcing mechanisms, biogeochemical cycles and climate implications during
the late Pliocene.
In Chapter 2, palaeoproductivity is reconstructed in the western and eastern equatorial Pacific
Ocean. Data reveal that productivity fluctuations are in phase between east and west and are
obliquity-paced. This implicates high-latitude rather than local forcing of export productivity and
no apparent role for east-west thermocline tilting on these timescales, as previously proposed.
In Chapter 3, multi-proxy palaeoproductivity reconstructions in the eastern equatorial Pacific
and Atlantic Ocean upwelling zones are considered in terms of proxy applicability and export
productivity. Results suggest that alkenone accumulation may be a useful indicator of export
productivity and that the late Pliocene biological pump was stronger during glacials than
interglacials.
In Chapter 4, an inferred secular productivity shift is investigated using calcareous nannofossil
assemblages. Assemblage shifts at an equatorial Pacific and a North Atlantic Ocean site support
the interpretation of an increase and a decrease in export productivity, respectively. Implications
of a strengthened tropical biological pump at this time are considered.
In Chapter 5, high-resolution climate records are used to investigate suborbital variability at
North Atlantic Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site U1313. Data indicate that only smallamplitude
suborbital variability occurs during the late Pliocene, with no amplification within the
boundary conditions and inferred ice-volume variations of MIS 103 to 95.
Bolton, Clara Thérèse
88d83375-6fc3-4759-aef5-3e7376ed4944
Bolton, Clara Thérèse
88d83375-6fc3-4759-aef5-3e7376ed4944

Bolton, Clara Thérèse (2010) Orbital and Suborbital Climate Variability during the Pliocene Intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation. University of Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Doctoral Thesis, 248pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The late Pliocene is marked by the end of an interval of warm, relatively stable global climate and a
secular shift into a bipolar glaciated world. The intensification of northern hemisphere glaciation
(iNHG) central to this climatic transition was accompanied by a decrease in atmospheric
carbon dioxide concentrations and commenced around 3.5 million years ago. The climate
forcing and response mechanisms involved in the iNHG are subjects of ongoing debate in the
palaeoclimate literature. In this thesis, I reconstruct palaeoproductivity and suborbital climate
fluctuations during this important interval, with particular focus on the first three consecutive,
large, obliquity-paced glacial-interglacial cycles (marine isotope stages, MIS, 101-95), using proxy
methods applied to deep-sea sediments in the equatorial oceans and the North Atlantic. In this
way, I evaluate the forcing mechanisms, biogeochemical cycles and climate implications during
the late Pliocene.
In Chapter 2, palaeoproductivity is reconstructed in the western and eastern equatorial Pacific
Ocean. Data reveal that productivity fluctuations are in phase between east and west and are
obliquity-paced. This implicates high-latitude rather than local forcing of export productivity and
no apparent role for east-west thermocline tilting on these timescales, as previously proposed.
In Chapter 3, multi-proxy palaeoproductivity reconstructions in the eastern equatorial Pacific
and Atlantic Ocean upwelling zones are considered in terms of proxy applicability and export
productivity. Results suggest that alkenone accumulation may be a useful indicator of export
productivity and that the late Pliocene biological pump was stronger during glacials than
interglacials.
In Chapter 4, an inferred secular productivity shift is investigated using calcareous nannofossil
assemblages. Assemblage shifts at an equatorial Pacific and a North Atlantic Ocean site support
the interpretation of an increase and a decrease in export productivity, respectively. Implications
of a strengthened tropical biological pump at this time are considered.
In Chapter 5, high-resolution climate records are used to investigate suborbital variability at
North Atlantic Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site U1313. Data indicate that only smallamplitude
suborbital variability occurs during the late Pliocene, with no amplification within the
boundary conditions and inferred ice-volume variations of MIS 103 to 95.

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Published date: October 2010
Organisations: University of Southampton

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Local EPrints ID: 168995
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/168995
PURE UUID: e129eaf6-cdcd-479a-9fce-13bdfd1a4c09

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Date deposited: 08 Dec 2010 12:01
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:20

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Author: Clara Thérèse Bolton

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