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Science. 2005 Dec 2;310(5753):1469-73. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

Radiocarbon variability in the western North Atlantic during the last deglaciation.

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  • 1California Institute of Technology, MS 100-23, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. laurar@gps.caltech.edu


We present a detailed history of glacial to Holocene radiocarbon in the deep western North Atlantic from deep-sea corals and paired benthic-planktonic foraminifera. The deglaciation is marked by switches between radiocarbon-enriched and -depleted waters, leading to large radiocarbon gradients in the water column. These changes played an important role in modulating atmospheric radiocarbon. The deep-ocean record supports the notion of a bipolar seesaw with increased Northern-source deep-water formation linked to Northern Hemisphere warming and the reverse. In contrast, the more frequent radiocarbon variations in the intermediate/deep ocean are associated with roughly synchronous changes at the poles.

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