Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Understanding the Red Sea response to sea level

Fig. 1. Map of Red Sea bathymetry and surrounding topography. Note the small surface area of the Red Sea rainfall catchment marked by the bold dashed line.

This paper describes a novel method to study the sea level record over the last 20 thousand years using Red Sea oxygen isotope records.  The larger scope of the work is described at the University of Southampton Red Sea Project site.

Mark Siddall, David A. Smeed, Christoph Hemleben, Eelco J. Rohling, Ina Schmelzer, William R. Peltier, David A. Smeed, Christoph Hemleben, Eelco J. Rohling, Ina Schmelzer, William R. Peltier
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 225 (2004) 421– 434
(link)

Abstract:  "Here we outline a new, pragmatic methodology to derive relative sea-level estimates from central Red Sea oxygen isotope records based on a previously published model. In this paper, the methodology is described in detail, and it is shown that sealevel change is the dominant factor responsible for the recorded variability in Red Sea delta-O-18 (PDB) for sea level changes greater than 12 m. Variables such as temperature or net evaporation are shown to have relatively small effects on the oxygen isotope record. The modelled delta-O-18 (PDB) to sea level relationship is given in terms of a fifth order polynomial which may be used to describe relative sea level from central Red Sea oxygen isotope records. We show how established sea level records from fossil reef terraces for the last 20 kyr are successfully simulated from central Red Sea oxygen isotope records. We also examine the spatial variability of delta-O-18 (PDB) in the basin over the last 13 kyr."

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