© 1999

Use of Proxies in Paleoceanography

Examples from the South Atlantic

  • Gerhard Fischer
  • Gerold Wefer

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-X
  2. Introduction

    1. G. Wefer, W. H. Berger, J. Bijma, G. Fischer
      Pages 1-68
  3. Surface Water Circulation

  4. Bottom- and Deep Water Circulation

    1. N. Dittert, K.-H. Baumann, T. Bickert, R. Henrich, R. Huber, H. Kinkel et al.
      Pages 255-284
    2. B. Diekmann, G. Kuhn, A. Mackensen, R. Petschick, D. K. Fütterer, R. Gersonde et al.
      Pages 285-313
  5. Paleoproductivity and Nutrients

  6. CO2 in Oceans and Atmosphere

    1. N. Andersen, P. J. Müller, G. Kirst, R. R. Schneider
      Pages 469-488

About this book


Paleoceanographic proxies provide infonnation for reconstructions of the past, including climate changes, global and regional oceanography, and the cycles of biochemical components in the ocean. These prox­ ies are measurable descriptors for desired but unobservable environmental variables such as tempera­ ture, salinity, primary productivity, nutrient content, or surface-water carbon dioxide concentrations. The proxies are employed in a manner analogous to oceanographic methods. The water masses are first characterized according to their specific physical and chemical properties, and then related to particular assemblages of certain organisms or to particular element or isotope distributions. We have a long-standing series of proven proxies available. Marine microfossil assemblages, for instance, are employed to reconstruct surface-water temperatures. The calcareous shells of planktonic and benthic microorgan­ isms contain a wealth of paleoceanographic information in their isotopic and elemental compositions. Stable oxygen isotope measurements are used to detennine ice volume, and MglCa ratios are related to water temperatures, to cite a few examples. Organic material may also provide valuable infonnation, e. g. , about past productivity conditions. Studying the stable carbon isotope composition of bulk organic matter or individual marine organic components may provide a measure of past surface-water CO 2 conditions within the bounds of certain assumptions. Within the scope of paleoceanographic investigations, the existing proxies are continuously evolving and improving, while new proxies are being studied and developed. The methodology is improved by analysis of samples from the water column and surface sediments, and through laboratory experiments.


Atlantic Ocean Climate Change Klimaänderung Ocean Oceanography Orbit Pangaea Proxies Southern Ocean Stratigraphie Süd-Atlantik geochemistry marine plankton temperature

Editors and affiliations

  • Gerhard Fischer
    • 1
  • Gerold Wefer
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich GeowissenschaftenUniversität BremenBremenGermany

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Use of Proxies in Paleoceanography
  • Book Subtitle Examples from the South Atlantic
  • Editors Gerhard Fischer
    Gerold Wefer
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-540-66340-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-642-63681-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-642-58646-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 735
  • Number of Illustrations 319 b/w illustrations, 20 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Oceanography
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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