A multi-decadal record of oceanographic changes of the past ~165 years (1850-2015 AD) from Northwest of Iceland
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLOS ONE. 2020, 15 (9), e0239373. 10.1371/journal.pone.0239373
Extending oceanographic data beyond the instrumental period is highly needed to better characterize and understand multi-decadal to centennial natural ocean variability. Here, a stable isotope record at unprecedented temporal resolution (1 to 2 years) from a new marine core retrieved off western North Iceland is presented. We aim to better constrain the variability of subsurface, Atlantic-derived Subpolar Mode Water (SPMW), using near surface-dwelling planktic foraminifera and Arctic Intermediate Water (AIW) mass changes using benthic foraminifera over the last ~165 years. The reconstruction overlaps in time with instrumental observations and a direct comparison reveals that the δ18O record of Neogloboquadrina pachyderma is reliably representing temperature fluctuations in the SPMWs. Trends in the N. pachyderma δ13C record match the measured phosphate concentration in the upper 200 m on the North Icelandic Shelf well. Near surface-dwelling foraminifera trace anthropogenic CO2 in the Iceland Sea by ~ 1950 ± 8, however, a reduced amplitude shift in the Marine Suess effect is identified. We argue that this is caused by a contemporary ongoing increase in marine primary productivity in the upper ocean due to enhanced Greenland’s freshwater discharge that has contributed to a nutrient-driven fertilization since the 1940s/50s (Perner et al., 2019). Multi-decadal variability is detected. We find that the 16-year periodicity evident in SPMW and AIWs based on the δ18O of N. pachyderma and M. barleeanum is a signal of SST anomalies propagated into the Nordic Seas via the Atlantic inflow branches around Iceland. Spectral analyses of the planktic foraminiferal δ13C signal indicate intermittent 30-year cycles that are likely reflecting the ocean response to atmospheric variability, presumably the East Atlantic Pattern. A long-term trend in benthic δ18O suggests that Atlantic-derived waters are expanding their core within the water column from the subsurface into deeper intermediate depths towards the present day. This is a result of increased transport by the North Icelandic Irminger Current to the North Iceland Shelf over the historical era.