Underlying causes for long-term global ocean δ13C fluctuations over the last 1.20 Myr

Hoogakker, B. A. A. and Rohling, E. J. and Palmer, M. R. and Tyrrell, T. and Rothwell, R. G. (2006) Underlying causes for long-term global ocean δ13C fluctuations over the last 1.20 Myr. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 248. pp. 15-29. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.05.007

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Abstract

Pleistocene stable carbon isotope (δ13C) records from surface and deep dwelling foraminifera in all major ocean basins show two distinct long-term carbon isotope fluctuations since 1.00 Ma. The first started around 1.00 Ma and was characterised by a 0.35‰ decrease in δ13C values until 0.90 Ma, followed by an increase of 0.60‰ lasting until 0.50 Ma. The subsequent fluctuation started with a 0.40‰ decrease between 0.50 and 0.25 Ma, followed by an increase of 0.30‰ between 0.25 and 0.10 Ma. Here, we evaluate existing evidence and various hypotheses for these global Pleistocene δ13C fluctuations and present an interpretation, where the fluctuations most likely resulted from concomitant changes in the burial fluxes of organic and inorganic carbon due to ventilation changes and/or changes in the production and export ratio. Our model indicates that to satisfy the long-term ‘stability’ of the Pleistocene lysocline, the ratio between the amounts of change in the organic and inorganic carbon burial fluxes would have to be close to a 1:1 ratio, as deviations from this ratio would lead to sizable variations in the depth of the lysocline. It is then apparent that the mid-Pleistocene climate transition, which, apart from the glacial cycles, represents the most fundamental change in the Pleistocene climate, was likely not associated with a fundamental change in atmospheric pCO2. While recognising that high frequency glacial/interglacial cycles are associated with relatively large (100 ppmv) changes in pCO2, our model scenario (with burial changes close to a 1:1 ratio) produces a maximum long-term variability of only 20 ppmv over the fluctuation between 1.00 and 0.50 Ma.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2006 AREP IA51 2006 P
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume: 248
Page Range: pp. 15-29
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.epsl.2006.05.007
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009 13:02
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:07
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/406

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