High-precision dating and correlation of ice, marine and terrestrial sequences spanning Heinrich Event 3: Testing mechanisms of interhemispheric change using New Zealand ancient kauri (Agathis australis)

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Journal Article
Quaternary Science Reviews, 2016, 137, pp. 126-134
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Robustly testing hypotheses of geographic synchroneity of abrupt and extreme change during the late Pleistocene (60,000 to 11,650 years ago) requires a level of chronological precision often lacking in ice, marine and terrestrial sequences. Here we report a bidecadally-resolved New Zealand kauri (Agathis australis) tree-ring sequence spanning two millennia that preserves a record of atmospheric radiocarbon (14C) during ice-rafted debris event Heinrich Event 3 (HE3) in the North Atlantic and Antarctic Isotope Maximum 4 (AIM4) in the Southern Hemisphere. Using 14C in the marine Cariaco Basin and 10Be preserved in Greenland ice, the kauri 14C sequence allows us to precisely align sequences across this period. We observe no significant difference between atmospheric and marine 14C records during HE3, suggesting no stratification of surface waters and collapse in Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Instead our results support recent evidence for a weakened AMOC across at least two millennia of the glacial period. Our work adds to a growing body of literature confirming that Heinrich events are not the cause of stadial cooling and suggests changes in the AMOC were not the primary driver of antiphase temperature trends between the hemispheres. Decadally-resolved 14C in ancient kauri offers a powerful new (and complementary) approach to polar ice core CH4 alignment for testing hypotheses of abrupt and extreme climate change.
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