Expansion of pelagic denitrification during early Pleistocene cooling.

Robinson, Rebecca S., Etourneau, Johan, Martinez, Philippe M. and Schneider, Ralph (2014) Expansion of pelagic denitrification during early Pleistocene cooling. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 389 . pp. 52-61. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.022.

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Bioavailable nitrogen is removed from the oceans in oxygen-deficient benthic and pelagic environments by denitrification. Future warming is predicted to reduce ocean oxygenation and to cause hypoxic regions to expand, potentially accelerating denitrification. A compilation of high-resolution sedimentary nitrogen isotope (delta N-15) records from the eastern tropical Pacific, North Pacific, and the Arabian Sea, and a global multi-site survey are presented as evidence for weak pelagic denitrification at the end of the Pliocene warm period. Mean delta N-15 values increased in the major oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) between 2.1 and 1.5 Ma. Pelagic denitrification strengthened during a period of long term global cooling, despite solubility driven increases in initial oxygen contents of Antarctic intermediate and Subantarctic mode waters ventilating the OMZs. This trend is opposite to the predicted mean trend for a cooling ocean as well as to the observed glacial-interglacial variation. Several alternatives to explain the shift are proposed, including a rise in net respiration, a progressive increase in the ventilation age of the deep ocean associated with million year scale, secular cooling, and a shoaling of the remotely ventilated thermocline to shallow depths corresponding to the zone of peak subsurface respiration. Given no evidence for a net increase in production, we assert that large-scale, climate-driven changes in ocean circulation regulate long timescale variations in the extent of pelagic denitrification. Additional data and modeling are required to fully explain the observations. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Times Cited: 0 0
Keywords: nitrogen isotopes, oxygen minimum zone, denitrification, Plio-Pleistocene
Research affiliation: Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.022
ISSN: 0012-821X
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 12:42
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 23:34
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/28159

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