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Breathing more deeply: deep ocean carbon storage during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition

Lear, Caroline, Billups, Katharina, Rickaby, Rosalind, Diester-Haass, Liselotte, Mawbey, Elaine and Sosdian, Sindia 2016. Breathing more deeply: deep ocean carbon storage during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition. Geology 44 (12) , pp. 1035-1038. 10.1130/G38636.1

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Abstract

The ~100 k.y. cyclicity of the late Pleistocene ice ages started during the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), as ice sheets became larger and persisted for longer. The climate system feedbacks responsible for introducing this nonlinear ice sheet response to orbital variations in insolation remain uncertain. Here we present benthic foraminiferal stable isotope (d18O, d13C) and trace metal records (Cd/Ca, B/Ca, U/Ca) from Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 607 in the North Atlantic. During the onset of the MPT, glacial-interglacial changes in d13C values are associated with changes in nutrient content and carbonate saturation state, consistent with a change in water mass at our site from a nutrient-poor northern source during inter- glacial intervals to a nutrient-rich, corrosive southern source during glacial intervals. The respired carbon content of glacial Atlantic deep water increased across the MPT. Increased dominance of corrosive bottom waters during glacial intervals would have raised mean ocean alkalinity and lowered atmospheric pCO2. The amplitude of glacial-interglacial changes in d13C increased across the MPT, but this was not mirrored by changes in nutrient content. We interpret this in terms of air-sea CO2 exchange effects, which changed the d13C signa- ture of dissolved inorganic carbon in the deep water mass source regions. Increased sea ice cover or ocean strati cation during glacial times may have reduced CO2 outgassing in the Southern Ocean, providing an additional mechanism for reducing glacial atmospheric pCO2. Conversely, following the establishment of the ~100 k.y. glacial cycles, d13C of interglacial northern-sourced waters increased, perhaps re ecting reduced invasion of CO2 into the North Atlantic following the MPT.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Geological Society of America
ISSN: 0091-7613
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 October 2016
Date of Acceptance: 28 September 2016
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2017 21:04
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/95508

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