Evidence From Dissolved O2 Isotopes in North Atlantic Deep Water for a Recent Climatic Shift

Israela Musan, Hezi Gildor*, Eugeni Barkan, William M. Smethie, Boaz Luz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthropogenic-induced variations of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and the associated Deep-Water Formation (DWF) are a major concern. Using measurements of triple oxygen isotopes in the deep North Atlantic, we present novel evidence for a dramatic decadal to centennial shift in ocean conditions at the source region of DWF. These measurements suggest a recent decrease in the percentage of photosynthetic O2 derived from the source regions of AMOC in the Nordic Seas compared to the Little Ice Age. 1-D model simulations suggest that a reduction in photosynthetic O2 production can explain the observed decrease. Alternatively, it may indicate a substantial decrease in sea-ice cover and thus increased air-sea gas exchange, bringing the isotopic composition of O2 closer to equilibrium with the atmosphere. Our novel data can serve as a benchmark for climate models.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2022GL100489
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 16 Feb 2023

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