Effect of an Open Central American Seaway on Ocean Circulation and the Oxygen Minimum Zone in the Tropical Pacific From Model Simulations

V. C. Khon*, B. A. A. Hoogakker, B. Schneider, J. Segschneider, W. Park

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The tectonic closure of the Central American Seaway (CAS) during the mid‐Miocene to mid‐Pliocene (∼16–3 Ma BP) is thought of as a key interval for the onset of the present‐day tropical Pacific oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). In this study we investigate the impact of an open CAS on the ocean circulation and the OMZ in the tropical Pacific. We perform a series of sensitivity experiments with the Kiel Climate Model, where we vary the CAS sill depth from shallow to deep. We find that the eastern tropical Pacific OMZ was less developed during the period of an open CAS. This is driven mainly by an enhanced eastward subsurface current that facilitated an increased oxygen supply from the western tropical Pacific. In addition, a small decrease in net marine primary production and subsequent weaker export of particulate organic carbon induced less subsurface oxygen consumption in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GL103728
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume50
Issue number20
Early online date18 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Central American Seaway
  • climate simulations
  • paleoclimate
  • Pliocene
  • oxygen minimum zone
  • Pacific

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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