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International Ocean Discovery Program
Expedition 383 Preliminary Report

Dynamics of the Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar Current (DYNAPACC)1

20 May–20 July 2019

Frank Lamy, Gisela Winckler, Carlos A. Alvarez Zarikian, and the Expedition 383 Scientists

Published October 2019

See the full publication in PDF.


The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the world’s strongest zonal current system that connects all three major ocean basins of the global ocean and therefore integrates and responds to global climate variability. Its flow is largely driven by strong westerly winds and constricted to its narrowest extent in the Drake Passage. Transport of fresh and cold surface and intermediate water masses through the Drake Passage (cold-water route) strongly affects the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation together with the inflow of Indian Ocean water masses (warm-water route). Both oceanographic corridors are critical for the South Atlantic contribution to Meridional Overturning Circulation changes. In contrast to the Atlantic and Indian sectors of the ACC, and with the exception of drill cores from the Antarctic continental margin and off New Zealand, the Pacific sector of the ACC lacks information on its Cenozoic paleoceanography from deep-sea drilling records. To advance our knowledge and understanding of Miocene to Holocene atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere dynamics in the Pacific and their implications for regional and global climate and atmospheric CO2, International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 383 recovered sedimentary sequences at (1) three sites located in the central South Pacific (U1539, U1540, and U1541), (2) two sites at the Chile margin (U1542 and U1544), and (3) one site from the pelagic eastern South Pacific (U1543) close to the entrance to the Drake Passage. Because of persistently stormy conditions and the resulting bad weather avoidance, we were not successful in recovering the originally planned Proposed Site CSP-3A in the central South Pacific in the Polar Frontal Zone. The drilled sediments at Sites U1541 and U1543 reach back to the late Miocene, and those at Site U1540 reach back to the early Pliocene. High sedimentary rate Pleistocene sedimentary sequences were drilled both in the central South Pacific (Site U1539) and along the Chile margin. Taken together, the sites represent a depth transect from ~1100 m at the Chile margin site (U1542) to ~4070 m in the central South Pacific (Site U1539) and allow investigation of changes in the vertical structure of the ACC, a key issue for understanding the role of the Southern Ocean in the global carbon cycle. The sites are located at latitudes and water depths where sediments will allow the application of a wide range of siliciclastic-, carbonate-, and opal-based proxies to address our objectives of reconstructing with unprecedented stratigraphic detail surface to deep-ocean variations and their relation to atmosphere and cryosphere changes through stadial to interstadial, glacial to interglacial, and warmer than present time intervals.

1Lamy, F., Winckler, G., Alvarez Zarikian, C.A., and the Expedition 383 Scientists, 2019. Expedition 383 Preliminary Report: Dynamics of the Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar Current.International Ocean Discovery Program.​10.14379/​

This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.