Low Atlantic Native Giraudeau

Core/Site name:

North Iceland Shelf: MD99-2269




marine sediments (downcore)

Proxy measurement:

coccolith abundance

Sampling resolution:


Dating resolution:

11 14C dates, one tepra age

Dating information:



10220 BP


-74.533 BP


The North Iceland shelf bears essential components of the present surface and intermediate circulation of the northern North Atlantic. Instrumental and historical data give evidence of the sensitivity of this domain to broad, regional-scale oceanic and atmospheric anomalies. Our investigation of the paleohydrological variability off Northern Iceland throughout the last 10 000 cal yr suggests that atmospheric forcing alone, through combined changes in strength of the wind stress curl and sea-level atmospheric pressure pattern over the Nordic Seas, is sufficient to explain the recorded changes in origins and dynamics of surface and intermediate water masses. Our biotic proxies, coccoliths and benthic foraminifera, were extracted from a giant piston core (MD99-2269) collected in a shelf trough where sediment accumulated at an excess rate of 2 m/kyr. The mid-Holocene from 6.5 to 3.5 cal kyr BP was a time of peaked carbonate production and subsequent sedimentation, and strong water-column stratification with a thick layer of cold-fresh Arctic surface water overlapping an enhanced flow of Irminger/Atlantic Intermediate water. Applying conditions triggering present-time carbonate plankton blooms in the studied area, we infer that a lowered cyclonic activity associated with decreased winter storms and reduced production of Arctic Intermediate Water in the Iceland Sea were conductive of the recorded mid-Holocene water column structure. The opposite situation (warm Atlantic surface water, low vertically-integrated inflow of Irminger water, abutment of Arctic Intermediate water in deep shelf troughs) characterized the early Holocene as well as a shorter late Holocene period centered at 2 cal kyr BP. The Little Ice Age (ca. 0.2–0.6 cal kyr BP) and a short event at around 3 cal kyr BP stand as times of extreme advection of polar waters and extended sea–ice development. A comparison of the recorded long-term Holocene evolution of water column structure off Northern Iceland with climate and hydrological changes in the north-eastern Atlantic suggests that the strength of Atlantic inflow into the Nordic Seas was subjected to a balance between the Irminger and the Norwegian branches. This balance is thought to be mostly related to changes in the intensity and location of westerly winds and associated atmospheric pressure gradients in the North Atlantic.

Data entered by name:

Bryan, Sean

Data entered by email:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Main reference(s):

Giraudeau, J., A.E. Jennings, and J.T. Andrews. 2004. Timing and mechanisms of surface and intermediate water circulation changes in the Nordic Seas over the last 10,000 cal years: a view from the North Iceland shelf.Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 23, Issues 20-22, pp. 2127-2139, November 2004.

Link to reference 1:


Data storage link 1:


Current dating method:

-- select --

Annual snow acc rate:

-- select --

Category: Ocean2k