Episodic release of CO2 from the high-latitude North Atlantic Ocean during the last 135 kyr

Ezat, Mohamed M.; Rasmussen, Tine L.; Hoenisch, Baerbel; Groeneveld, Jeroen; deMenocal, Peter B.

Antarctic ice cores document glacial-interglacial and millennial-scale variability in atmospheric pCO2 over the past 800 kyr. The ocean, as the largest active carbon reservoir on this timescale, is thought to have played a dominant role in these pCO2 fluctuations, but it remains unclear how and where in the ocean CO2 was stored during glaciations and released during (de)glacial millennial-scale climate events. The evolution of surface ocean pCO2 in key locations can therefore provide important clues for understanding the ocean’s role in Pleistocene carbon cycling. Here we present a 135-kyr record of shallow subsurface pCO2 and nutrient levels from the Norwegian Sea, an area of intense CO2 uptake from the atmosphere today. Our results suggest that the Norwegian Sea probably acted as a CO2 source towards the end of Heinrich stadials HS1, HS4 and HS11, and may have contributed to the increase in atmospheric pCO2 at these times.


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