Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Ocean science: Radiocarbon variability in the western North Atlantic during the last deglaciation

January 1, 2005

We present a detailed history of glacial to Holocene radiocarbon in the deep western North Atlantic from deep-sea corals and paired benthic-planktonic foraminifera. The deglaciation is marked by switches between radiocarbon-enriched and -depleted waters, leading to large radiocarbon gradients in the water column. These changes played an important role in modulating atmospheric radiocarbon. The deep-ocean record supports the notion of a bipolar seesaw with increased Northern-source deep-water formation linked to Northern Hemisphere warming and the reverse. In contrast, the more frequent radiocarbon variations in the intermediate/deep ocean are associated with roughly synchronous changes at the poles.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Ocean science: Radiocarbon variability in the western North Atlantic during the last deglaciation
DOI 10.1126/science.1114832
Authors L.F. Robinson, J.F. Adkins, L.D. Keigwin, J. Southon, D. P. Fernandez, S.-L. Wang, D.S. Scheirer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Series Number
Index ID 70027738
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization