High-resolution Holocene N2O ice core record and its relationship with CH4 and CO2

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Abstract

[1] Nitrous oxide (N2O) concentration records exist for the last 1000 years and for time periods of rapid climatic changes like the transition from the last glacial to today's interglacial and for one of the fast climate variations during the last ice age. Little is known, however, about possible N2O variations during the more stable climate of the present interglacial (Holocene) spanning the last 11 thousand years. Here we fill this gap with a high-resolution N2O record measured along the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) Dome C Antarctic ice core. On the same ice we obtained high-resolution methane and carbon dioxide records. This provides the unique opportunity to compare variations of the three most important greenhouse gases (after water vapor) without any uncertainty in their relative timing. The CO2 and CH4 records are in good agreement with previous measurements on other ice cores. The N2O concentration started to decrease in the early Holocene and reached minimum values around 8 ka (<260 ppbv) before a slow increase to its preindustrial concentration of ∼265 ppbv.

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