Two-phase change in CO2, Antarctic temperature and global climate during Termination II

The end of the Last Glacial Maximum (Termination I), roughly 20 thousand years ago (ka), was marked by cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, a weakening of the Asian monsoon, a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and warming over Antarctica. The sequence of events associated with the previous glacial–interglacial transition (Termination II), roughly 136 ka, is less well constrained. Here we present high-resolution records of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and isotopic composition of N2—an atmospheric temperature proxy—from air bubbles in the EPICA Dome C ice core that span Termination II. We find that atmospheric CO2 concentrations and Antarctic temperature started increasing in phase around 136 ka, but in a second phase of Termination II, from 130.5 to 129 ka, the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations lagged that of Antarctic temperature unequivocally. We suggest that during this second phase, the intensification of the low-latitude hydrological cycle resulted in the development of a CO2 sink, which counteracted the CO2 outgassing from the Southern Hemisphere oceans over this period.


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Authors: Landais, A., Dreyfus, G., Capron, E. ORCIDORCID record for E. Capron, Jouzel, J., Masson-Delmotte, V., Roche, D. M., Prié, F., Caillon, N., Chappellaz, J., Leuenberger, M., Lourantou, A., Parrenin, F., Raynaud, D., Teste, G.

On this site: Emilie Capron
20 October, 2013
Nature Geoscience / 6
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