Past Ocean Dynamics
Past Ocean Circulation
Our DFG funded Emmy-Noether research group aims for better understanding the coupling between ocean and the climate system.
The last glacial/interglacial cycle (i.e., approximately the last 130,000 years) comprises a wide array of different boundary conditions under which ocean circulation changed profoundly. Hence, it provides an ideal natural laboratory for identifying the triggers and feedback mechanisms responsible for short-term climate change.
While modern ocean condition parameters can be measured directly reconstructing the past strength of water mass kinetics seems to be an inconceivable task at first glance. Our reconstruction of paleo-information depends on proxy data recovered from deep-sea sediment cores. Based on measurements of radioactive decay products (e.g. uranium in sea water) and of isotopic compositions we reconstruct the past deep ocean hydrography during key periods of climate history.
Supported by models we transfer the ocean-wide patterns of these proxy data into quantitative estimates of past circulation strength.