Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nature Study: Is modern Arctic Ocean Circulation exceptional?

03.12.2007
The Arctic Ocean only has a limited exchange with the global ocean, whereby the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard is the only deep water connection to the Atlantic Ocean. It is this connection that supplies oxygen to the deep Arctic Ocean.

Today a pronounced and stable freshwater layer at the surface originating from inputs of the large Russian rivers almost completely prevents any significant deep water formation in the Arctic Ocean itself. The results of Brian Haley and colleagues from the IFM-GEOMAR now show that this was an exception rather than the rule for most of the past 15 million years.

The Kiel team made their discovery when they carried out geochemical analyses on sediments of the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX, Leg 302 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP)) and of a RV Polarstern expedition, which had been recovered near the North Pole on the Lomonosov Ridge between 1.000 und 1.200 m water depth. They reconstructed the seawater isotope ratio of the element neodymium (143Nd/144Nd) from the sediments. The Nd, which has characteristic isotope ratios in rocks as a function of their type and age, is transported to the ocean through weathering, where it provides information on the sources of water masses. To their surprise, the geochemists found that the isotope signature of the seawater was strongly different from the present day values, with the exception of the warm periods of the past 400.000 years. “It is even more surprising that this isotope signature indicated a pronounced influence of the weathering of basaltic rocks”, says Brian Haley. On the Circum-arctic landmasses such rocks, however, only exist in the form of the Siberian “Putorana flood basalts”.

From this geologically unique setting and taking into account the evolution of the continental ice sheets of the past 140.000 years, it was then possible to reconstruct the circulation history of the deep Arctic Ocean. The signature of the basalts can only have arrived at 1.000 m water depth in the central Arctic Ocean if vast amounts of new sea ice formed near the basalt areas in the Kara Sea area. How did the signature arrive at the seafloor? “During sea ice formation the salt of the sea water freezes out and is rejected, thereby forming highly saline brines, which were denser than the surrounding sea water. These brines sank and transported the dissolved Nd isotope signature of the basalts to the sea floor where the sediment cores were recovered”, explains Martin Frank, co-author of the study. Further, the obtained Nd isotope variations imply that the inflow of Atlantic waters was significantly reduced during most of the past 15 million years and during the glacial periods of the past 400.000 years. This also suggests that during these periods of time the main area of Atlantic deep water formation was not located in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, similar to today, but further south.

The arctic IODP ACEX drilling project was coordinated by the European consortium ECORD (European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling). This organization consists of partners from 17 European nations participating in the „International Ocean Drilling Programme“. ECORD is also responsible for the planning and coordination of special operations, for which normal drilling vessels cannot be used, as was the case for the ACEX project. For such purposes special platforms are used to achieve the scientific goals.

Andreas Villwock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ifm-geomar.de/index.php?id=3887&L=1

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>