Underlying causes for long-term global ocean d13C fluctuations over the last 1.2 Ma


Hoogakker, B.A.A., Rohling, E.J., Palmer, M.R., Tyrrell, T. and Rothwell, R.G. (2006) Underlying causes for long-term global ocean d13C fluctuations over the last 1.2 Ma. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 248, (1), 15-29. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.05.007).

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Description/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
ISSNs: 0012-821X (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > National Oceanography Centre (NERC)
ePrint ID: 41405
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:26
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/41405

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