Global Database from Neodymium in the oceans: a global database, a regional comparison and implications for palaeoceanographic research

The neodymium (Nd) isotopic composition of seawater has been used extensively to reconstruct ocean circulation on a variety of timescales. However, dissolved neodymium concentrations and isotopes do not always behave conservatively, and quantitative deconvolution of this non-conservative component can be used to detect trace metal inputs and isotopic exchange at ocean–sediment interfaces. In order to facilitate such comparisons for historical datasets, we here provide an extended global database for Nd isotopes and concentrations in the context of hydrography and nutrients. Since 2010, combined datasets for a large range of trace elements and isotopes are collected on international GEOTRACES section cruises, alongside classical nutrient and hydrography measurements. Here, we take a first step towards exploiting these datasets by comparing high-resolution Nd sections for the western and eastern North Atlantic in the context of hydrography, nutrients and aluminium (Al) concentrations. Evaluating those data in tracer–tracer space reveals that North Atlantic seawater Nd isotopes and concentrations generally follow the patterns of advection, as do Al concentrations. Deviations from water mass mixing are observed locally, associated with the addition or removal of trace metals in benthic nepheloid layers, exchange with ocean margins (i.e. boundary exchange) and/or exchange with particulate phases (i.e. reversible scavenging). We emphasize that the complexity of some of the new datasets cautions against a quantitative interpretation of individual palaeo Nd isotope records, and indicates the importance of spatial reconstructions for a more balanced approach to deciphering past ocean changes.