We present a new method for the quantitative reconstruction of upper ocean flows for during times in the past. For the warm (T>5 degrees C) surface ocean, density can be accurately reconstructed from calcite precipitated in equilibrium with seawater, as both of these properties increase with decreasing temperature and increasing salinity. Vertical density profiles can be reconstructed from the oxygen isotopic composition of benthic foraminifera. The net volume transport between two vertical density profiles can be calculated using the geostrophic method. Using benthic foraminifera from surface sediment samples from either side of the Florida Straits (Florida Keys and Little Bahama Bank), we reconstruct two vertical density profiles and calculate a volume transport of 32 Sv using this method. This agrees well with estimates from physical oceanographic methods of 30-32 Sv for the mean annual volume transport. We explore the sensitivity of this technique to various changes in the relationship between temperature and salinity as well as salinity and the oxygen isotopic composition of seawater.
198XCTimes Cited:39Cited References Count:45