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Microfaunal evidence for elevated Pliocene temperatures in the Arctic Ocean

April 1, 1993

The migration of thermophilic marine Ostracoda into the Arctic Ocean during the Pliocene indicates that winter and summer ocean temperatures around Arctic margins were ≥ 0 °C and > 3 °C, respectively, and that ice-free conditions existed for most or all of the Arctic. By at least 3.5–3.0 Ma, probably earlier, the opening of the Bering Strait allowed marine organisms to migrate through the Arctic Ocean, mostly from the Pacific Ocean. Migrant taxa such as Cythere, Hemicythere, and Neomonoceratina are known from Pliocene deposits of Alaska and Canada as well as Neogene deposits of the North Pacific and Atlantic oceans. On the basis of ecological and Zoogeographic information on ostracode species from more than 800 modern “core top” samples for the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, we determined winter and summer temperature tolerances for migrant taxa to be at or above about 0 °C and 3 °C. This suggests ice-free summers, and probably, a perennially ice-free Arctic Ocean in some regions. Elevated water temperatures in the Arctic Ocean between 3.5 and 2.0 Ma is supported by evidence for late Pliocene increased meridional heat transport in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Publication Year 1993
Title Microfaunal evidence for elevated Pliocene temperatures in the Arctic Ocean
DOI 10.1029/93PA00060
Authors Thomas M. Cronin, Robin Whatley, Adrian Wood, Akira Tsukagoshi, Noriyuki Ikeya, Elisabeth M. Brouwers, W. M. Briggs
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Index ID 70228807
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse