A new model for the role of the oceans in determining atmospheric PCO 2

Jorge Louis Sarmiento, J. R. Toggweiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

530 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent ice-core measurements have revealed that the atmospheric CO 2 level increased comparatively rapidly by about 70 p.p.m. at the end of the last ice age1. Here we present an ocean-atmosphere model in which changes in the productivity of high latitude surface waters (from which deep water is formed and circulated around the world's ocean) and/or in the thermo-haline overturning rate can lead to substantial changes in atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), over a concentration range 163-425 p.p.m. A major contribution to the low PCO2 of the last ice may have been an increase in the net high latitude productivity, possibly coupled with a decrease in the thermohaline overturning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-624
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume308
Issue number5960
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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