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Observational constraints on the causes of Holocene CO2 change

Observational constraints on the causes of Holocene CO2 change
Observational constraints on the causes of Holocene CO2 change
The mechanisms that controlled past atmospheric CO2 levels are not directly measurable, hence many proxy data sources are combined when reconstructing past carbon cycling. The accuracy of Holocene modeling reconstructions is checked by seeking consistency between data-based observables and their numerically simulated counterparts. A new framework is presented to evaluate which combinations of observables can best constrain carbon cycle mechanisms with the minimum of uncertainty. We show that when previous studies have combined ocean temperatures, ocean [CO32?], and the ?13C of atmospheric CO2 as observables, uncertainties in the data sources are amplified by over 2 orders of magnitude when reconstructing the mechanisms responsible for CO2 increase. However, incorporating mean ?13C of ocean DIC since 8000 years ago as an additional data source reduces the uncertainties by more than a factor of 5, making this observable a priority for future research. Our analysis indicates that the 20 ppm increase in CO2 between 8000 years BP and preindustrial was caused by significant CaCO3 precipitation and a reduction in the ocean soft tissue pump. Meanwhile, an increase in terrestrial carbon storage opposed the CO2 increase. The methods presented here are useful for investigating a range of paleoclimate events.
holocene, atmospheric co2, carbon cycle, proxies
0886-6236
GB3011-[16pp]
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Oliver, Kevin I.C.
588b11c6-4d0c-4c59-94e2-255688474987
Lenton, Timothy M.
245a93ab-92e4-4719-a8b7-7ef66d65d048
Goodwin, Philip
87dbb154-5c39-473a-8121-c794487ee1fd
Oliver, Kevin I.C.
588b11c6-4d0c-4c59-94e2-255688474987
Lenton, Timothy M.
245a93ab-92e4-4719-a8b7-7ef66d65d048

Goodwin, Philip, Oliver, Kevin I.C. and Lenton, Timothy M. (2011) Observational constraints on the causes of Holocene CO2 change. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 25 (3), GB3011-[16pp]. (doi:10.1029/2010GB003888).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The mechanisms that controlled past atmospheric CO2 levels are not directly measurable, hence many proxy data sources are combined when reconstructing past carbon cycling. The accuracy of Holocene modeling reconstructions is checked by seeking consistency between data-based observables and their numerically simulated counterparts. A new framework is presented to evaluate which combinations of observables can best constrain carbon cycle mechanisms with the minimum of uncertainty. We show that when previous studies have combined ocean temperatures, ocean [CO32?], and the ?13C of atmospheric CO2 as observables, uncertainties in the data sources are amplified by over 2 orders of magnitude when reconstructing the mechanisms responsible for CO2 increase. However, incorporating mean ?13C of ocean DIC since 8000 years ago as an additional data source reduces the uncertainties by more than a factor of 5, making this observable a priority for future research. Our analysis indicates that the 20 ppm increase in CO2 between 8000 years BP and preindustrial was caused by significant CaCO3 precipitation and a reduction in the ocean soft tissue pump. Meanwhile, an increase in terrestrial carbon storage opposed the CO2 increase. The methods presented here are useful for investigating a range of paleoclimate events.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 22 July 2011
Published date: September 2011
Keywords: holocene, atmospheric co2, carbon cycle, proxies
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Physical Oceanography

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 194939
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/194939
ISSN: 0886-6236
PURE UUID: 4f202e3c-56cb-4711-a17f-20935facfa6e

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Aug 2011 15:56
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 23:25

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