Link between the North and South Atlantic during the Heinrich events of the last glacial period Academic Article uri icon


  • High resolution benthic oxygen isotope records combined with radiocarbon datings, from cores retrieved in the North, Equatorial, and South Atlantic are used to establish a reliable chronostratigraphy for the last 60 ky. This common temporal framework enables us to study the timing of the sub-Milankovitch climate variability in the entire surface Atlantic during this period. as reflected in planktonic oxygen isotope records, Variations in sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial and South Atlantic reveal two warm periods during the mid-stage 3 which are correlated to the warming observed in the North Atlantic after Heinrich events (HL) 5 and 4. However, the records show that the warming started about 1500 y earlier in the South Atlantic. A zonally averaged ocean circulation model simulates a similar north-south thermal antiphasing between the latitudes of our coring sites, when perturbated by a freshwater flux anomaly. We infer that the observed phase relationship between the northern and the southern Atlantic is related to periods of reduced NADW production in the North Atlantic, such as during HL5 and HL4.

publication date

  • December 1, 1999