Changes in atmospheric CO2: Influence of the marine biota at high latitude


  • Fanny Knox,

  • Michael B. McElroy


Approximately half of the nitrogen and phosphorus entering deep waters of the contemporary ocean are transported from the surface in inorganic form as preformed nutrients. A simple model for ocean chemistry is presented and shown to account for the present level of atmospheric CO2. Fluctuations in preformed nutrients, modulated by changes in insolation and circulation at high latitudes, can result in significant variations in CO2. It is suggested that these changes may account for the apparent control on climate exercised by secular variations in the orbital parameters of the earth.