** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    Progress in Earth and Planetary Science

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    Alkenone surface hydrographic changes of the subarctic Northwestern Pacific since the last glacial: proxy limitations and implications of non-thermal environmental influences

    PS Yu, CJ Liao, MT Chen, JJ Zou, X Shi, AA Bosin, SA Gorbarenko, Y Yokoyama

    Last glacial, Stratification, Alkenone, Sea surface temperature, Northwestern Pacific, Subarctic

    We investigated an alkenone-based sea surface temperature (SST) and the hydrographic change records of the subarctic Northwestern (NW) Pacific from the last glacial to interglacial. The core we investigated is a piston core (LV 63-41-2, 52.56° N, 160.00° E; water depth 1924 m) retrieved from the southern offshore east coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is a location of high sedimentation rate, with highly dynamic interactions with the cold/warm water masses of the Bering Sea/the NW Pacific. Based on our alkenone analysis with a previously well-established chronology of the core, we found high glacial C37:4 contents suggesting larger freshwater influences prior to the last deglacial in approximately 27–16 ka BP. The most significant features of what we found are alkenone indicative of “warming” intervals with minimum alkenone productions that occurred prior to the stadial Heinrich event 1 and the Younger Dryas. In contrast, for the interval corresponding to the Bølling–Allerød period, our alkenone analysis shows relatively “colder” but maximum alkenone productions. We conclude that this particular subarctic alkenone SST proxy record is mainly masked by non-thermal environmental influences, such as strong shifts of timing and duration of the sea ice retreat and/or salinity changes in surface water at this site, which could cause changes in water stratification that affect nutrient supplies of the upper ocean that modulate growth durations of phytoplankton/coccolithophore productions. Our studies suggest that this subarctic alkenone “SST” proxy record is indicative of the changes of seasonality that control the timing and duration of the blooming seasons of coccolithophores. The alkenone “SST” proxy is also dominantly driven by water stratification effects that, instead of SSTs, reflect most likely a combination of the following local to regional climate and ocean current patterns: (1) the amount of meltwater inputs from high mountain glaciers at Kamchatka; (2) less saline, nutrient-rich Alaskan Stream waters from the Cordilleran Ice Sheet in the Gulf of Alaska; (3) downwelling waters associated with the interactions between the southward Eastern Kamchatka Current and the spinning-up of the North Pacific Subarctic Gyre; and (4) the strength of the Kuroshio Current since the last glacial.