Rapid shifts in circulation and biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean during deglacial carbon cycle events

Tao Li*, Laura F. Robinson, Tianyu Chen, Xingchen T. Wang, Andrea Burke, James W.B. Rae, Albertine Pegrum-Haram, Timothy D.J. Knowles, Gaojun Li, Jun Chen, Hong Chin Ng, Maria Prokopenko, George H. Rowland, Ana Samperiz, Joseph A. Stewart, John Southon, Peter T. Spooner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

The Southern Ocean plays a crucial role in regulating atmospheric CO2 on centennial to millennial time scales. However, observations of sufficient resolution to explore this have been lacking. Here, we report high-resolution, multiproxy records based on precisely dated deep-sea corals from the Southern Ocean. Paired deep (∆14C and 11B) and surface (15N) proxy data point to enhanced upwelling coupled with reduced efficiency of the biological pump at 14.6 and 11.7 thousand years (ka) ago, which would have facilitated rapid carbon release to the atmosphere. Transient periods of unusually well-ventilated waters in the deep Southern Ocean occurred at 16.3 and 12.8 ka ago. Contemporaneous atmospheric carbon records indicate that these Southern Ocean ventilation events are also important in releasing respired carbon from the deep ocean to the atmosphere. Our results thus highlight two distinct modes of Southern Ocean circulation and biogeochemistry associated with centennial-scale atmospheric CO2 jumps during the last deglaciation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabb3807
JournalScience Advances
Volume6
Issue number42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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