Tracking rainfall in the northern Mediterranean borderlands during sapropel deposition

Type Article
Date 2015-12
Language English
Author(s) Toucanne SamuelORCID1, Mintoo Charlie Morelle Angue2, Fontanier Christophe1, Bassetti Maria-Angela2, Jorry StephanORCID1, Jouet Gwenael1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Lab Environm Sedimentaires, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Univ Perpignan, CEFREM, UMR 5110, F-66860 Perpignan, France.
Source Quaternary Science Reviews (0277-3791) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2015-12 , Vol. 129 , P. 178-195
DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.10.016
WOS© Times Cited 69
Keyword(s) Mediterranean, Rainfall, Interglacials, Sapropel
Abstract The role of mid-latitude precipitation in the hydrological forcing leading to the deposition of sapropels in the Mediterranean Sea remains unclear. The new GDEC-4-2 borehole, East Corsica margin (northern Tyrrhenian Sea), provides the first precisely dated evidence for enhanced rainfall in the Western Mediterranean during warm intervals of interglacial periods over the last 547 kyr. Comparison of GDEC-4-2 proxy records with pollen sequences and speleothems from the central and eastern Mediterranean reveals that these pluvial events were regional in character and occurred probably in response to the intensification of the Mediterranean storm track along the northern Mediterranean borderlands in autumn/winter. Our dataset suggests that the timing of maxima of the Mediterranean autumn/winter storm track precipitation coincide with that of the North African summer monsoon and sapropel deposition. Besides highlighting a close coupling between mid- and low-latitude hydrological changes, our findings suggest that during warm intervals of interglacial periods the reduced sea-surface water salinities, together with the high flux of nutrient and organic matter, produced by the monsoonal Nile (and wadi-systems) floods, were maintained throughout the winter by the Mediterranean rainfall. This provides an important additional constraint on the hydrological perturbation causing sapropel formation.
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