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Radiocarbon constraints on the glacial ocean circulation and its impact on atmospheric CO2


Skinner, LC and Primeau, F and Freeman, E and de La Fuente, M and Goodwin, PA and Gottschalk, J and Huang, E and McCave, IN and Noble, TL and Scrivner, AE, Radiocarbon constraints on the glacial ocean circulation and its impact on atmospheric CO2, Nature Communications, 8 Article 16010. ISSN 2041-1723 (2017) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/ncomms16010


While the ocean’s large-scale overturning circulation is thought to have been significantly different under the climatic conditions of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the exact nature of the glacial circulation and its implications for global carbon cycling continue to be debated. Here we use a global array of ocean–atmosphere radiocarbon disequilibrium estimates to demonstrate a ∼689±53 14C-yr increase in the average residence time of carbon in the deep ocean at the LGM. A predominantly southern-sourced abyssal overturning limb that was more isolated from its shallower northern counterparts is interpreted to have extended from the Southern Ocean, producing a widespread radiocarbon age maximum at mid-depths and depriving the deep ocean of a fast escape route for accumulating respired carbon. While the exact magnitude of the resulting carbon cycle impacts remains to be confirmed, the radiocarbon data suggest an increase in the efficiency of the biological carbon pump that could have accounted for as much as half of the glacial–interglacial CO2 change.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:carbon cycle, palaeoceanography, physical oceanography
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition
UTAS Author:Noble, TL (Dr Taryn Noble)
ID Code:121230
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:74
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-09-18
Last Modified:2018-05-24
Downloads:112 View Download Statistics

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