Abrupt CO2 release to the atmosphere under glacial and early interglacial climate conditions

Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 13:01 in Earth & Climate

Pulse-like carbon dioxide release to the atmosphere on centennial time scales has only been identified for the most recent glacial and deglacial periods and is thought to be absent during warmer climate conditions. Here, we present a high-resolution carbon dioxide record from 330,000 to 450,000 years before present, revealing pronounced carbon dioxide jumps (CDJ) under cold and warm climate conditions. CDJ come in two varieties that we attribute to invigoration or weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and associated northward and southward shifts of the intertropical convergence zone, respectively. We find that CDJ are pervasive features of the carbon cycle that can occur during interglacial climate conditions if land ice masses are sufficiently extended to be able to disturb the AMOC by freshwater input.

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