Decadal- to interannual-scale source water variations in the Caribbean Sea recorded by Puerto Rican coral radiocarbon

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Water that forms the Florida Current, and eventually the Gulf Stream, coalesces in the Caribbean from both subtropical and equatorial sources. The equatorial sources are made up of, in part, South Atlantic water moving northward and compensating for southward flow at depth related to meridional overturning circulation. Subtropical surface water contains relatively high amounts of radiocarbon ({sup 14}C), whereas equatorial waters are influenced by the upwelling of low {sup 14}C water and have relatively low concentrations of {sup 14}C. We use a 250-year record of {Delta}{sup 14}C in a coral from southwestern Puerto Rico along with previously published coral {Delta}{sup ... continued below

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Kilbourne, K H; Quinn, T M; Guilderson, T P; Webb, R S & Taylor, F W December 5, 2006.

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Water that forms the Florida Current, and eventually the Gulf Stream, coalesces in the Caribbean from both subtropical and equatorial sources. The equatorial sources are made up of, in part, South Atlantic water moving northward and compensating for southward flow at depth related to meridional overturning circulation. Subtropical surface water contains relatively high amounts of radiocarbon ({sup 14}C), whereas equatorial waters are influenced by the upwelling of low {sup 14}C water and have relatively low concentrations of {sup 14}C. We use a 250-year record of {Delta}{sup 14}C in a coral from southwestern Puerto Rico along with previously published coral {Delta}{sup 14}C records as tracers of subtropical and equatorial water mixing in the northern Caribbean. Data generated in this study and from other studies indicate that the influence of either of the two water masses can change considerably on interannual to interdecadal time scales. Variability due to ocean dynamics in this region is large relative to variability caused by atmospheric {sup 14}C changes, thus masking the Suess effect at this site. A mixing model produced using coral {Delta}{sup 14}C illustrates the time varying proportion of equatorial versus subtropical waters in the northern Caribbean between 1963 and 1983. The results of the model are consistent with linkages between multidecadal thermal variability in the North Atlantic and meridional overturning circulation. Ekman transport changes related to tradewind variability are proposed as a possible mechanism to explain the observed switches between relatively low and relatively high {Delta}{sup 14}C values in the coral radiocarbon records.

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PDF-file: 31 pages; size: 0.7 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Climate Dynamics, vol. 29, N/A, July 1, 2007, pp. 51-62; Journal Volume: 29

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-226724
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936956
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc900399

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  • December 5, 2006

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 10:25 a.m.

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Kilbourne, K H; Quinn, T M; Guilderson, T P; Webb, R S & Taylor, F W. Decadal- to interannual-scale source water variations in the Caribbean Sea recorded by Puerto Rican coral radiocarbon, article, December 5, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc900399/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.