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Wind-driven evolution of the North Pacific subpolar gyre over the last deglaciation
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  • William Robert Gray,
  • Robert C. J. Wills,
  • James William Buchanan Rae,
  • Andrea Burke,
  • Ruza F Ivanovic,
  • William Henry Gordon Roberts,
  • David Ferreira,
  • Paul Valdes
William Robert Gray
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement

Corresponding Author:william.gray@lsce.ipsl.fr

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Robert C. J. Wills
University of Washington
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James William Buchanan Rae
University of St Andrews
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Andrea Burke
University of St Andrews
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Ruza F Ivanovic
University of Leeds
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William Henry Gordon Roberts
Northumbria University
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David Ferreira
University of Reading
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Paul Valdes
University of Bristol
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North Pacific atmospheric and oceanic circulations are key missing pieces in our understanding of the reorganisation of the global climate system since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Here, using a basin-wide compilation of planktic foraminiferal δ18O, we show that the North Pacific subpolar gyre extended ~3 degrees further south during the LGM, consistent with sea surface temperature and productivity proxy data. Analysis of an ensemble of climate models indicates that the expansion of the subpolar gyre was associated with a substantial gyre strengthening. These gyre circulation changes were driven by a southward shift in the mid-latitude westerlies and increased wind-stress from the polar easterlies. Using single-forcing model runs, we show these atmospheric circulation changes are a non-linear response to the combined topographic and albedo effects of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Our reconstruction suggests the gyre boundary (and thus westerly winds) began to migrate northward at ~17-16 ka, during Heinrich Stadial 1.
28 Mar 2020Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 47 issue 6. 10.1029/2019GL086328