The input of the soluble micronutrients iron (Fe) and/or manganese (Mn) by mineral dust stimulates net primary productivity in the Fe/Mn-deficient Southern Ocean. This mechanism is thought to increase carbon export, thus reducing atmospheric CO2 during the Pleistocene glacial cycles. Yet, relatively little is known about changes in the sources and transport pathways of Southern Hemisphere dust over glacial cycles. Here, we use the geochemical fingerprint of the dust fraction in marine sediments and multiisotope mixture modeling to identify changes in dust transport to the South Pacific Subantarctic Zone (SAZ). Our data show that dust from South America dominated the South Pacific SAZ during most of the last 260,000 a with maximum contributions of up to ∼70% in the early part of the glacial cycles. The enhanced dust-Fe fluxes of the latter parts of the glacial cycles show increased contributions from Australia and New Zealand, but South American dust remains the dominant component. The systematic changes in dust provenance correspond with grain size variations, consistent with the circumpolar transport of dust by the westerly winds. Maximum contributions of dust from more proximal sources in Australia and New Zealand (up to ∼63%) paired with a finer dust grain size indicate reduced westerly wind speeds over the South Pacific SAZ during deglacial and peak interglacial intervals. These quantitative dust provenance changes provide source-specific dust-Fe fluxes in the South Pacific SAZ and show how their systematic changes in magnitude and timing influence the Southern Ocean dust-Fe feedback on glacial-interglacial to millennial time scales.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Early online date
|21 Nov 2022
|Published - 22 Nov 2022