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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The UAB component in GATEWAYS focuses on the marine palaeoclimatology and palaeo-environments of the Agulhas Current. Individual projects of the PhD students and post-doctoral researcher are directed towards establishing the variability of the greater Agulhas Current regime off southeast Africa under contrasting climates of the past, and the dynamics of the water transport from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic during these times. The projects are based on marine sediment cores. The reconstructions are made available to the collaborating modeling groups to define palaeo-boundary conditions for model simulations that assess the dynamics of the Current in the past and its impact on southern African continental climates. The surface-ocean palaeo-data generated by the UAB team are available to compare with benthic deep water records generated by other partners in the Network so as to assess the impact of Agulhas Current transports to the South Atlantic on the Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation.

Analytical methodologies comprise stable isotopes and trace elements on selected planktonic foraminifera and on coccolithophore species. In collaboration with partners CAU and NIOZ biomarker palaeohydrography (Uk37, Tex86, dD) studies are implemented as appropriate. Radiogenic isotope palaeoceanography (Pa/Th) complements the benthic work programme of partner CU.

The database generated by the UAB team aims at (1) quantification of surface-ocean and thermocline T-S patterns as indicators of varying warm/salt water transports in the Agulhas Current and leakage into the South Atlantic (cross-linked with the research performed by partners NIOZ, VUA); (2) surface ocean property gradients as indicators for the migration of regional ocean fronts, with implications for the geometry of the Indian-Atlantic ocean gateway (cross-linked with partners VUA, IFM-GEOMAR); (3) land-ocean climatic coupling through the comparison of surface ocean conditions within the Agulhas Current System and South African terrestrial climates (cross-linked with partners GSI, UCT); (4) linking between salt water leakage and buoyancy transports from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic and mode shifts of the Atlantic MOC (cross-linked with partners CU, IFM-Geomar)

Partner Profile

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Univer­sitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) focuses on research and education in the environmental sciences. The Institute runs Master and Doctoral programmes in environmental sciences and it currently hosts more than 55 senior scientists combining applied multidisciplinary research into environmental processes and the relations between the changing environment and society. The marine palaeoclimate team in ICTA-UAB conducts research into marine palaeoclimatology and palaeo-environments. Working areas are the polar seas, Atlantic and Mediterranean. The team maintains and accesses, through the University's centralized laboratory park, analytical facilities including stable isotope IR-MS, gas chromatographtography, quadropole ICP-MS, gamma spectrometers and beta counters, high-resolution microspcopy with Insight Spot Camera and image analysis system. Team members were PIs of 38 research projects and coordination activities funded by  the MEC/MICINN (Madrid), Generalitat de Catalunya (AGAUR), EU (FWP7) and international agencies (NOW, Netherlands; Comer Foundation, US). ICTA-UAB is coordinator of the GATEWAYS project and WP5 leader.

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