Takahashi, Kozo; Ravelo, Ana Christina; Alvarez-Zarikian, Carlos A. (2007): Pliocene-Pleistocene paleoceanography and climate history of the Bering Sea. IODP Management International, College Station, TX, United States, Scientific Prospectus (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program), 318, georefid:2007-117283

Over the last 5 m.y., global climate has evolved from being warm with only small Northern Hemisphere glaciers to being cold with major Northern Hemisphere glaciations every 100-40 k.y. The ultimate reasons for this major transition are unknown. Over the last hundreds of thousands of years, Milankovitch- and millennial-scale climate oscillations have occurred; although processes responsible for these oscillations are known in some regions, the global nature of these oscillations are due to unknown mechanisms. Possible mechanisms responsible for both the long-term evolution of global climate as well as the generation of high-frequency climate oscillations involve intermediate water ventilation of the North Pacific. However, the paucity of data in critical regions of the Pacific, such as the Bering Sea, has prevented an evaluation of the role of North Pacific processes in global climate change. The Bering Sea is a marginal sea in the North Pacific that has experienced major climate changes. Because North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) is known to form in the Bering Sea, the basin does not only record, but it is potentially critically involved in causing major climate changes. Thus, drilling in the Bering Sea can help to answer questions not only about the global extent of climate trends and oscillations but also about the mechanisms that produce them. We plan to core sediments to study the Pliocene-Pleistocene evolution of millennial- to Milankovitch-scale climatic oscillations in the Bering Sea. Biological, chemical, and physical oceanography, as well as the adjacent continental climate of the Bering Sea, are highly sensitive to global climate conditions and are recorded by variations in the sedimentary composition of diatoms and other microfossil groups, as well as many other paleoclimatic indicators. Intermediate water formation in these regions can be tracked using paleoceanographic proxies of subsurface water that can be related to open Pacific records. Sediments can not only be used to produce records of climate and intermediate water ventilation in these critical marginal seas but can also be applied to testing the effect of changes in the Bering Strait Gateway and its influence (via the Arctic) on heat and nutrient partitioning between the Atlantic and Pacific. Planned coring will provide continuous and high-resolution paleoenvironmental records from these critical marginal seas for the first time. These new records can then be used to understand the processes that influence intermediate water ventilation and its role in global climate change over the last 5 m.y.
West: 164.0000 East: -166.0000 North: 59.0000 South: 53.0000
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Data set link: http://sedis.iodp.org/pub-catalogue/index.php?id=10.2204/iodp.sp.318.2007 (c.f. for more detailed metadata)
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