Mollenhauer, Gesine, Schneider, Ralph R, Jennerjahn, Tim C., Müller, Peter J and Wefer, Gerold (2004) Organic carbon accumulation in the South Atlantic Ocean: its modern, mid-Holocene and last glacial distribution. Global and Planetary Change, 40 (3-4). pp. 249-266. DOI

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A compilation of 1118 surface sediment samples from the South Atlantic was used to map modern seafloor distribution of organic carbon content in this ocean basin. Using new data on Holocene sedimentation rates, we estimated the annual organic carbon accumulation in the pelagic realm (>3000 m water depth) to be approximately 1.8×1012 g C year−1. In the sediments underlying the divergence zone in the Eastern Equatorial Atlantic (EEA), only small amounts of organic carbon accumulate in spite of the high surface water productivity observed in that area. This implies that in the Eastern Equatorial Atlantic, organic carbon accumulation is strongly reduced by efficient degradation of organic matter prior to its burial.

During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), accumulation of organic carbon was higher than during the mid-Holocene along the continental margins of Africa and South America (Brazil) as well as in the equatorial region. In the Eastern Equatorial Atlantic in particular, large relative differences between LGM and mid-Holocene accumulation rates are found. This is probably to a great extent due to better preservation of organic matter related to changes in bottom water circulation and not just a result of strongly enhanced export productivity during the glacial period. On average, a two- to three-fold increase in organic carbon accumulation during the LGM compared to mid-Holocene conditions can be deduced from our cores. However, for the deep-sea sediments this cannot be solely attributed to a glacial productivity increase, as changes in South Atlantic deep-water circulation seem to result in better organic carbon preservation during the LGM.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Affiliations > Not ZMT
Biogeochemistry and Geology > Ecological Biogeochemistry
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.:
ISSN: 09218181
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2020 14:06
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:01

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