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Journal Article

Climatic forcing of eastern Mediterranean deep-water formation and benthic ecosystems during the past 22 000 years

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Schmiedl, G., Kuhnt, T., Ehrmann, W., Emeis, K.-C., Hamann, Y., Kotthoff, U., et al. (2010). Climatic forcing of eastern Mediterranean deep-water formation and benthic ecosystems during the past 22 000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29(23-24), 3006-3020. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.07.002.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0017-D2AA-1
Lateglacial and Holocene faunal and stable-Isotope records from benthic foraminifers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (EMS) suggest a high spatiotemporal variability of deep-water oxygenation and biogeochemical processes at the sea floor during that time Changes in the oxygenation and food availability of the deep-sea ecosystems are closely linked to the hydrology of the EMS borderlands; they reflect orbital and suborbital climate variations of the high northern latitudes and the African monsoon system During the last glacial maximum, cool surface waters and high evaporation resulted in maximum convection and oxic deep-waters in all sub-basins Strong wind-induced mixing fostered surface-water production with seasonal phytodetritus fluxes During the glacial termination and the Holocene, oxygenation and food availability of deep-sea benthic ecosystems were characterized by a pronounced regional differentiation Local deep-water formation and trophic conditions were particularly variable in the northern Aegean Sea as a response to changes in riverine runoff and Black Sea outflow During the interval of sapropel Si formation in the early Holocene, average oxygen levels decreased exponentially with increasing water depth, suggesting a basin-wide shallowing of vertical convection superimposed by local signals. In the northernmost Aegean Sea, deep-water ventilation persisted during the early period of Si formation, owing to temperature-driven local convection and the absence of low-salinity Black Sea outflow. At the same time, severe temporary anoxia occurred in the eastern Levantine basin at water depths as shallow as 900 m This area was likely influenced by enhanced nutrient Input of the Nile river that resulted in high organic matter fluxes and related high oxygen-consumption rates in the water column In the southern Aegean and Levantine Seas, we observe a gradual increase in deep-water residence times, preceding Si formation by approximately 1-1.5 kyr Once oxygen levels fell below a critical threshold, the benthic ecosystems collapsed almost synchronously with the onset of Si deposition The recovery of benthic ecosystems during the terminal phase of SI formation is controlled by subsequently deeper convection and re-ventilation over a period of approximately 1500 years. After the re-ventilation of the various sub-basins had been completed during the middle and late Holocene, deep-water renewal was more or less similar to recent rates. During that time, deep-sea ecosystem variability was driven by short-term changes in food quantity and quality as well as in seasonality, all of which are linked to millennial-scale changes in riverine runoff and associated nutrient input. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.