The polar ocean and glacial cycles in atmospheric CO2 concentration

Daniel Mikhail Sigman, Mathis P. Hain, Gerald H. Haug

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

417 Scopus citations

Abstract

Global climate and the atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pco2atm) are correlated over recent glacial cycles, with lower pco2atm during ice ages, but the causes of the pco2atm changes are unknown. The modern Southern Ocean releases deeply sequestered CO2 to the atmosphere. Growing evidence suggests that the Southern Ocean CO2 leak was stemmed during ice ages, increasing ocean CO2 storage. Such a change would also have made the global ocean more alkaline, driving additional ocean CO2 uptake. This explanation for lower ice-age pco2atm, if correct, has much to teach us about the controls on current ocean processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
JournalNature
Volume466
Issue number7302
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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