The response of atmospheric nitrous oxide to climate variations during the last glacial period

Authors

  • Adrian Schilt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
    2. Now at College of Earth Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
    • Corresponding author: Adrian Schilt, College of Earth, Ocean, and AtmosphericSciences, 104 CEOAS Admin Bldg, Oregon State University,Corvallis, OR 97331–5503, USA. (schilta@science.oregonstate.edu)

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  • Matthias Baumgartner,

    1. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Olivier Eicher,

    1. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Jérôme Chappellaz,

    1. Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement, Grenoble, France
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  • Jakob Schwander,

    1. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Hubertus Fischer,

    1. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Thomas F. Stocker

    1. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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Abstract

[1] Detailed insight into natural variations of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) in response to changes in the Earth's climate system is provided by new measurements along the ice core of the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP). The presented record reaches from the early Holocene back into the previous interglacial with a mean time resolution of about 75years. Between 11 and 120kyrBP, atmospheric N2O concentrations react substantially to the last glacial-interglacial transition (Termination 1) and millennial time scale climate variations of the last glacial period. For long-lasting Dansgaard/Oeschger (DO) events, the N2O increase precedes Greenland temperature change by several hundred years with an increase rate of about 0.8–1.3ppbv/century, which accelerates to about 3.8–10.7ppbv/century at the time of the rapid warming in Greenland. Within each bundle of DO events, the new record further reveals particularly low N2O concentrations at the approximate time of Heinrich events. This suggests that the response of marine and/or terrestrial N2O emissions on a global scale are different for stadials with and without Heinrich events.

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