Texas A&M University2014-08-17 9:12 PM

Onset of Mediterranean outflow into the North Atlantic

ABSTRACT

Sediments cored along the southwestern Iberian margin during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 339 provide constraints on Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) circulation patterns from the Pliocene epoch to the present day. After the Strait of Gibraltar opened (5.33 million years ago), a limited volume of MOW entered the Atlantic. Depositional hiatuses indicate erosion by bottom currents related to higher volumes of MOW circulating into the North Atlantic, beginning in the late Pliocene. The hiatuses coincide with regional tectonic events and changes in global thermohaline circulation (THC). This suggests that MOW influenced Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), THC, and climatic shifts by contributing a component of warm, saline water to northern latitudes while in turn being influenced by plate tectonics.

Full article:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6189/1244.abstract

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