A deep ice core extracted at Vostok station, Antarctica, provides a record of atmospheric climate and CO2 that is representative of global changes over the last glacial-interglacial cycle (160,000 years). Spectral analysis of the isotope temperature profile confirms the role of astronomical forcing in Quaternary climate changes. There is a remarkably close association between the climatic and CO2 records. This association indicates a fundamental link between the climate system and the carbon cycle, although the processes involved are not clearly understood. A simple statistical comparison of the Vostok temperature record with various potential forcing factors suggests that CO2 concentrations may have played a major role in the observed climatic record, in addition to insolation inputs exerted locally and at northern hemisphere latitudes (where continental ice sheets are growing and decaying at the glacial-interglacial time scale). We propose that CO2 and other atmospheric chemical changes may have had an important effect on Quaternary climate by providing, for the large 100-kyr oscillation, the necessary amplification of the orbital forcing at that frequency.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.