Last Glacial Maximum CO2 and d13C successfully reconciled

N. Bouttes, D. Paillard, D.M.V.A.P. Roche, V. Brovkin, L. Bopp

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼21,000 years ago) the cold climate was strongly tied to low atmospheric CO<inf>2</inf> concentration (∼190 ppm). Although it is generally assumed that this low CO<inf>2</inf> was due to an expansion of the oceanic carbon reservoir, simulating the glacial level has remained a challenge especially with the additional δ13C constraint. Indeed the LGM carbon cycle was also characterized by a modern-like δ13C in the atmosphere and a higher surface to deep Atlantic δ13C gradient indicating probable changes in the thermohaline circulation. Here we show with a model of intermediate complexity, that adding three oceanic mechanisms: brine induced stratification, stratification-dependant diffusion and iron fertilization to the standard glacial simulation (which includes sea level drop, temperature change, carbonate compensation and terrestrial carbon release) decreases CO<inf>2</inf> down to the glacial value of ∼190 ppm and simultaneously matches glacial atmospheric and oceanic δ13C inferred from proxy data. LGM CO<inf>2</inf> and δ13C can at last be successfully reconciled. Copyright © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL02705
    Number of pages5
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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