North Atlantic Deep Water formation initiated by the closure of the Barents Sea Seaway – a potential trigger for Antarctic glaciation

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2020
Funding: 3200000 SEK


The Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT, ca 34-33 million years ago) was a
time of strong global cooling and the first occurrence of a
semi-permanent Antarctic ice sheet. Based on new proxy evidence we
propose here two novel hypotheses: 1) that isolation of the Arctic Ocean
before the EOT lead to the North Atlantic getting much saltier so that
for the first time surface water began to sink there to great depths,
and 2) the resulting ocean circulation changes led to sufficient cooling
in the south to push Antarctica into a glacial state. We will test
these together with existing Antarctic glaciation hypotheses in a new
state of the art climate model configuration using continental
distributions and climate conditions of the EOT. Experiments will
involve varying selected ocean gateways, atmospheric CO2 concentration
and the size of the Antarctic ice sheet. We will further implement an
improved representation of important water mixing processes in the
model. This update will be made available to the wider paleo modeling
community. The model will also be adapted to simulate the peak
greenhouse climate of the early Eocene and thereby participate in an
International Paleo Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP4). Funding is
requested for a 3-year appointment of a postdoctoral research fellow to
undertake the model adaption, simulations and analysis. The supervisory
team comprise of experienced paleoceanographers, physical oceanographers
and modelers.

Last updated on 2017-05-10 at 07:53