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Orbital (Hydro)Climate Variability in the Ice-Free early Eocene Arctic
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  • Chris Daniël Fokkema,
  • Henk Brinkhuis,
  • Francien Peterse,
  • Appy Sluijs
Chris Daniël Fokkema
Utrecht University

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Henk Brinkhuis
Royal NIOZ
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Francien Peterse
Utrecht University
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Appy Sluijs
Utrecht University
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We explore the imprint of orbital variability on Arctic temperature and hydrology using sediments recovered during the Arctic Coring Expedition in 2004. High resolution records of lipid biomarkers (GDGTs; 2-kyr) and palynological assemblages (5-kyr) in the ~4 m interval below Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (~54 Ma) show highly cyclic signals related to ~20-kyr precession, ~40-kyr obliquity and ~100-kyr eccentricity. The GDGTs indicate obliquity and precession variability representative of sea surface temperature (SST) variations up to ~1.4 and ~0.5 ºC, respectively. Peak SSTs coincide with an elevated supply of pollen and spores and increased marine productivity. Together, this implies an orbital control on precipitation and terrestrial nutrient supply to the Arctic Basin. Assuming that SST maxima correspond to Arctic insolation maxima (precession minima/obliquity maxima), precipitation maxima also correspond to insolation maxima, implying regional hydrological processes as a forcing rather than variations in meridional water transport, starkly contrasting Pleistocene Arctic hydrology. The relative amplitudes of precession and obliquity in the SST record match that of local insolation between spring and fall, corroborating previous suggestions of a seasonal GDGT bias. The reconstructed complete orbital imprint refutes that ACEX temperature reconstructions are biased to one end of the orbital variability. Eccentricity-related SST variability was ~0.8 ºC, ~2–3 times higher than synchronous variability in the deep ocean, and 3–4 times higher than similar variations in the tropics. This confirms eccentricity-forced global temperature variability during the Eocene, and that this had pronounced polar amplification, despite the absence of ice and snow albedo feedbacks.
08 Apr 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
08 Apr 2024Published in ESS Open Archive