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The Southern Ocean’s role in carbon exchange during the last deglaciation
Burke, A.; Robinson, L.F. (2012). The Southern Ocean’s role in carbon exchange during the last deglaciation. Science (Wash.) 335(6068): 557-561.
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Burke, A.
  • Robinson, L.F.

    Changes in the upwelling and degassing of carbon from the Southern Ocean form one of the leading hypotheses for the cause of glacial-interglacial changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide. We present a 25,000-year-long Southern Ocean radiocarbon record reconstructed from deep-sea corals, which shows radiocarbon-depleted waters during the glacial period and through the early deglaciation. This depletion and associated deep stratification disappeared by ~14.6 ka (thousand years ago), consistent with the transfer of carbon from the deep ocean to the surface ocean and atmosphere via a Southern Ocean ventilation event. Given this evidence for carbon exchange in the Southern Ocean, we show that existing deep-ocean radiocarbon records from the glacial period are sufficiently depleted to explain the ~190 per mil drop in atmospheric radiocarbon between ~17 and 14.5 ka.

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