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Linking the 8.2 ka event and its freshwater forcing in the Labrador Sea

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Abstract

[1] The 8.2 ka event was the last deglacial abrupt climate event. A reduction in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) attributed to the drainage of glacial Lake Agassiz may have caused the event, but the freshwater signature of Lake Agassiz discharge has yet to be identified in δ18O of foraminiferal calcite records from the Labrador Sea, calling into question the connection between freshwater discharge to the North Atlantic and AMOC strength. Using Mg/Ca-paleothermometry, we demonstrate that ∼3°C of near-surface ocean cooling masked an ∼1.0‰ decrease in western Labrador Seaδ18O of seawater concurrent with Lake Agassiz drainage. Comparison with North Atlantic δ18O of seawater records shows that the freshwater discharge was transported to regions of deep-water formation where it could perturb AMOC and force the 8.2 ka event.

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