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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

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Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology





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Post‐glacial sea level rise led to a direct connection between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans via the Bering Strait. Consequently, the Bering Sea experienced changes in connectivity, size, and sediment sources that were among the most drastic of any ocean basin in the past 30,000 years. However, the sedimentary response to the interplay between climate change and sea level rise in high‐latitude settings such as Beringia remains poorly resolved. To ascertain changes in sediment delivery, productivity, and regional oceanography from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the Holocene, we analyzed sedimentological, geochemical, and isotopic characteristics of three sediment cores from the Bering Sea. Interpretations of productivity, terrestrial input, nutrient utilization, and circulation are based on organic carbon isotopes (δ13Corg), total organic carbon (TOC), bulk nitrogen isotopes, total organic nitrogen, carbon/nitrogen ratios, elemental X‐ray fluorescence data, grain size, and presence of laminated or dysoxic, green intervals. Principal component analysis of these data captures key climatic intervals. The LGM was characterized by low productivity across the region. In the Bering Sea, deglaciation began around 18–17 ka, with increasing terrestrial sediment and TOC input. Marine productivity increased during the Bølling‐Allerød when laminated sediments revealed dysoxic bottom waters where denitrification was extreme. The Younger Dryas manifested increased terrestrial input and decreased productivity, in contrast with the Pre‐Boreal, when productivity markedly rebounded. The Pre‐Boreal and Bølling‐Allerød were similarly productive, but changes in the source of TOC and a δ13Corg depletion suggest the influence of a gradually flooding Bering Shelf during the Pre‐Boreal and Holocene.


This article is published as Pelto, Ben M., Beth E. Caissie, Steven T. Petsch, and Julie Brigham‐Grette. "Oceanographic and Climatic Change in the Bering Sea, Last Glacial Maximum to Holocene." Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 33, no. 1 (2018): 93-111. DOI: 10.1002/2017PA003265. Posted with permission.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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