EGU21-10594, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Last Interglacial sea ice variability and paleoceanography of the Labrador Sea

Kristine Steinsland1,2, Ulysess Ninnemann2,3, Kirsten Fahl4, Rüdiger Stein4,5, Danielle Grant1,2, and Stijn De Schepper1,2
Kristine Steinsland et al.
  • 1NORCE Climate, Norwegian Research Centre, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 3University of Bergen, Department of Earth Science, Bergen, Norway
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 5University of Bremen, Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Bremen, Germany

Sea ice provides strong feedback in the climate system, and it plays an important role in modulating the strength of the Thermohaline Circulation through glacials, and even interglacials. The warmer than present Last Interglacial (LIG, ~116-128 ka) is thought to have a less stable climate than the current interglacial. Proxies from the deep- and surface subpolar North Atlantic Ocean show prominent instabilities pointing toward coupled ocean-climate variability.  Here we reconstruct sea surface and sea ice changes of the subpolar gyre through the penultimate deglaciation and LIG in order to evaluate sea ice’s role as a driver and amplifier of these ocean circulation and climate changes. We reconstruct the sea ice and sea surface conditions using biomarkers (IP25, sterols) and dinoflagellate cyst assemblages from the Eirik Drift. Low productivity combined with an absence of IP25 could indicate a potential full sea ice cover through MIS 6. The surface ocean experienced large variability through the first half of the LIG, including an early cooling with potential seasonal sea ice cover evident from the dinoflagellate cyst assemblage and IP25. The peak warm period of the LIG is seen in the second half, followed by a brief cooling period towards the end. Following the LIG, MIS 5d is characterized by an IP25 signal and high relative abundances of round brown dinocysts indicating cooling with seasonal sea ice cover. Initial comparisons with deep ventilation proxies (benthic foraminiferal δ13C data) indicate a potential close link between sea ice, surface hydrography and deep circulation. In future studies, we aim to compare the sea ice record to benthic foraminiferal δ13C data from the same samples to better understand the connection between surface and deep-ocean variability.


How to cite: Steinsland, K., Ninnemann, U., Fahl, K., Stein, R., Grant, D., and De Schepper, S.: Last Interglacial sea ice variability and paleoceanography of the Labrador Sea, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10594,, 2021.


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