The calcite isyocline as a constraint on glacial/interglacial low-latitude production changes

Daniel Mikhail Sigman, Daniel C. McCorkle, William R. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


We investigate the response of the calcite lysocline to changes in the export production of the low-latitude surface ocean (the combined equatorial, tropical, and subtroical regions). We employ different CaCO3 throughput schemes in a time-dependent ocean carbon cycle model to separate the CaCO3 production/iysocline balance from the other components of the model response and to estimate the effect of dissolution driven by organic matter decomposition in surface sediments. With this model, we carry out three experiments based on a previous hypotheses for the cause of glacial/interglacial atmospheric CO2 variations: (1) a simple increase in low-latitude production, (2) a decrease in its CaCO2/organic carbon rain ratio, and (3) an increase in the depth of organic carbon regeneration. None of these changes, when taken alone, can lower atmospheric CO2 to glacial levels without violating observations of the glacial iysocline depth. If a low-latitude production increase were accompanied by a decrease in the CaCO3/organic carbon ratio ratio, then these simultaneous changes could lower atmospheric CO2 to observed glacial levels without causing a significant change in the ocean-average depth of the iysocline. However, even with these simultaneous changes, the required increase in production is 50% or more of the modern rate of production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-427
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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