Southern Ocean contribution to both steps in deglacier atmospheric CO2 rise

Thomas.Ronge [ at ]


The transfer of vast amounts of carbon from a deep oceanic reservoir to the atmosphere is considered to be a dominant driver of the deglacial rise in atmospheric CO2. Paleoceanographic reconstructions reveal evidence for the existence of CO2-rich waters in the mid to deep Southern Ocean. These water masses ventilate to the atmosphere south of the Polar Front, releasing CO2 prior to the formation and subduction of intermediate-waters. Changes in the amount of CO2 in the sea water directly affect the oceanic carbon chemistry system. Here we present B/Ca ratios, a proxy for delta carbonate ion concentrations Δ[CO32−], and stable isotopes (δ13C) from benthic foraminifera from a sediment core bathed in Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), offshore New Zealand in the Southwest Pacific. We find two transient intervals of rising [CO32−] and δ13C that that are consistent with the release of CO2 via the Southern Ocean. These intervals coincide with the two pulses in rising atmospheric CO2at ~ 17.5–14.3 ka and 12.9–11.1 ka. Our results lend support for the release of sequestered CO2 from the deep ocean to surface and atmospheric reservoirs during the last deglaciation, although further work is required to pin down the detailed carbon transfer pathways.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-01657-w

Cite as
Ronge, T. , Frische, M. , Fietzke, J. , Stephens, A. , Bostock, H. C. and Tiedemann, R. (2021): Southern Ocean contribution to both steps in deglacier atmospheric CO2 rise , Nature Scientific Reports, 11 , p. 22117 . doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-01657-w

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Geographical region

Research Platforms

ANT > XXVI > 2

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