Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) can seriously impact regional climate and the global hydrologic cycle. However, variations in this ocean circulation system during the Holocene are poorly understood. The proposed work will address this knowledge gap by generating Holocene-length grain size records with well-constrained chronology, using high-accumulation cores spanning the depth range of the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC, or the main pathway by which water sinking in the North Atlantic flows southward at depth). These records will complement similar records from the Iceland-Scotland overflow, helping to define the coupling between the two circulation pathways. In addition, the project will collect cores from both sites to produce more detailed grain size records focusing on the past 2,000 years, when climate forcing is relatively well understood. Interpreted in the context of model sensitivity studies, the records will help to explain the mechanisms and dynamics of long-term AMOC changes during the Holocene.
This research, led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will improve our understanding of and capacity to predict ocean circulation changes that are associated with climate change. The project will support an early-career scientist in establishing a long-term collaboration with senior researchers, and will strengthen international ties via collaboration with scientists from the UK and the Netherlands. A graduate or undergraduate student will be involved in the field campaign.