Abrupt cold spells in the northwest Mediterranean


  • E. J. Rohling,

  • A. Hayes,

  • S. De Rijk,

  • D. Kroon,

  • W. J. Zachariasse,

  • D. Eisma


Hitherto unknown abundance peaks of left coiling (l.c.) Neogloboquadrina pachyderma from a Gulf of Lions piston core indicate that abrupt cold spells associated with Atlantic Heinrich events affected the Mediterranean. N. pachyderma (l.c.) is typical of (sub) polar waters in the open ocean. The southern edge of its glacial North Atlantic bioprovince reached south Portugal. Only trace abundances of N. pachyderma (l.c.) are known from Quaternary Mediterranean sediments, suggesting that no significant “invasions” occured via the Strait of Gibraltar. The Gulf of Lions abundance peaks therefore seem to reflect area-specific thriving of a normally rare but indigenous taxon in the western Mediterranean through local favorable habitat development. The general planktonic foraminiferal record suggests that the basic hydrographic regime in the Gulf of Lions, with wintertime deep convective overturn, was relatively stable over the past 60 kyr. Under these conditions, high abundances of N. pachyderma (l.c.) would essentially imply temperature reductions of the order of 5°–8° relative to the present.