Paleophysical oceanography with an emphasis on transport rates

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doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-120308-081056
Author(s): Huybers, Peter; Wunsch, Carl
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Harvard University, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
Volume Title: Annual Review of Marine Science
Source: Annual Review of Marine Science, Vol.2, p.1-34. Publisher: Annual Reviews, International. ISSN: 1941-1405
Note: In English. Based on Publisher-supplied data; illus.
Summary: Paleophysical oceanography is the study of the behavior of the fluid ocean of the past, with a specific emphasis on its climate implications, leading to a focus on the general circulation. Even if the circulation is not of primary concern, heavy reliance on deep-sea cores for past climate information means that knowledge of the oceanic state when the sediments were laid down is a necessity. Like the modern problem, paleoceanography depends heavily on observations, and central difficulties lie with the very limited data types and coverage that are, and perhaps ever will be, available. An approximate separation can be made into static descriptors of the circulation (e.g., its water-mass properties and volumes) and the more difficult problem of determining transport rates of mass and other properties. Determination of the circulation of the Last Glacial Maximum is used to outline some of the main challenges to progress. Apart from sampling issues, major difficulties lie with physical interpretation of the proxies, transferring core depths to an accurate timescale (the "age-model problem"), and understanding the accuracy of time-stepping oceanic or coupled-climate models when run unconstrained by observations. Despite the existence of many plausible explanatory scenarios, few features of the paleocirculation in any period are yet known with certainty.
Year of Publication: 2010
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 24 Surficial Geology, Quaternary Geology; Cenozoic; Cores; Deep-sea environment; Last glacial maximum; Marine environment; Marine sediments; Ocean Drilling Program; Ocean circulation; Paleo-oceanography; Paleoclimatology; Quaternary; Sediment transport; Sediments; Transport; World ocean
Record ID: 2017015237
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by Annual Reviews, Palo Alto, CA, United States

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