Red Sea during the Last Glacial Maximum: Implications for sea level reconstruction

E. Biton*, Hezi Gildor, W. R. Peltier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Red Sea is connected to the Indian Ocean via a narrow and shallow strait and exhibits a high sensitivity to atmospheric changes and a reduced sea level. We used an ocean general circulation model to investigate the hydrography and circulation in the Red Sea in response to reduced sea level and modified atmospheric conditions occurring during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The model salinity shows high sensitivity to sea level reduction together with a mild atmospheric impact. Sea level reduction affects the stratification and alters the circulation pattern at the Strait of Bab el Mandab, which experiences a transition from a submaximal flow to a maximal flow. The best correlation to reconstructed conditions during LGM exists when the water depth of the Hanish Sill (the shallowest part in the Strait of Bab el Mandab) is 33 ± 10.75 m, which would be affected by a sea level lowering of approximately 105 m. Our results support the reconstructed maximum salinity of around 57 practical salinity units because of a simple model (that takes into account mixing processes along the strait) and comparison of the surface salinity gradient to reconstructions based on isotopic records from sedimentary cores. The salinity and δ18O are sensitive to the mixing process at the strait, and the sensitivity increases as the sea level is ftu-ther reduced. A local relative sea level reduction of approximately 105 m is also in close agreement with the inference of the LGM low stand of the sea at the location of the sill based on the ICE-5G (VM2) model.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberPA1214
JournalPaleoceanography
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

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