Ice core evidence for the extent of past atmospheric CO2 change due to iron fertilisation

An extended high-resolution ice core record of dust deposition over the past 60 ka from Dome C, Antarctica, is presented. The data are in conflict with the idea that changes in aeolian iron input into the Southern Ocean were the major cause for the 80 ppm glacial-interglacial CO2 increase. During the deglaciation, the CO2 increase shows a linear relationship with the fall of the logarithm of the nss-Ca2+ flux, a proxy for dust deposition. However, the very large variations in the nss-Ca2+ flux related to the glacial Antarctic warm events A1 to A4 were accompanied by small CO2 variations only. Our data-based analysis suggests that decreased Southern Ocean dust deposition caused at most a 20 ppm increase in CO2 at the last glacial-interglacial transition. Rapid decreases in dust deposition to the northern Pacific could have been responsible for a maximum of 8 ppm in addition.


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Authors: Röthlisberger, R., Bigler, M., Wolff, E.W., Joos, F., Monnin, E., Hutterli, M.A.

On this site: Eric Wolff
1 January, 2004
Geophysical Research Letters / 31
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