The High-Latitude Ocean as a Control of Atmospheric CO2

  1. E.T. Sundquist and
  2. W.S. Broecker
  1. T. Wenk and
  2. U. Siegenthaler

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM032p0185

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present

How to Cite

Wenk, T. and Siegenthaler, U. (1985) The High-Latitude Ocean as a Control of Atmospheric CO2, in The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present (eds E.T. Sundquist and W.S. Broecker), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM032p0185

Author Information

  1. Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1985

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900605

Online ISBN: 9781118664322

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Keywords:

  • Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)—Congresses;
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide—Congresses;
  • Geological time—Congresses;
  • Paleothermometry—Congresses;
  • Geology, Stratigraphic—Congresses

Summary

It is suggested that the rapid natural atmospheric CO2 variations during and at the end of the last glaciation which are indicated by ice core studies may have been caused by changes in the high-latitude oceans, particularly in the Antarctic. Concentrations of nutrients (N, P) in surface water are near zero in large ocean areas, but relatively high in high-latitude oceans. A circulation change could lead to more complete nutrient utilization and thus to a lower pCO2 of surface waters in these regions. Possible changes are discussed, and their effects on atmospheric CO2 concentrations, carbon isotope ratios and dissolved oxygen in the deep sea are estimated by means of a simple box model. Time-dependent calculations show that after a sudden change of circulation rate, the atmospheric CO2 concentration would approach its new steady state value with a relaxation time of about 200 years.