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Sea level fall during glaciation stabilized atmospheric CO2 by enhanced volcanic degassing

Hasenclever, Jörg, Knorr, Gregor, Rüpke, Lars H., Köhler, Peter, Morgan, Jason, Garofalo, Kristin, Barker, Stephen ORCID:, Lohmann, Gerrit and Hall, Ian R. ORCID: 2017. Sea level fall during glaciation stabilized atmospheric CO2 by enhanced volcanic degassing. Nature Communications 8 , 15867. 10.1038/ncomms15867

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Paleo-climate records and geodynamic modelling indicate the existence of complex interactions between glacial sea level changes, volcanic degassing and atmospheric CO2, which may have modulated the climate system’s descent into the last ice age. Between ∼85 and 70 kyr ago, during an interval of decreasing axial tilt, the orbital component in global temperature records gradually declined, while atmospheric CO2, instead of continuing its long-term correlation with Antarctic temperature, remained relatively stable. Here, based on novel global geodynamic models and the joint interpretation of paleo-proxy data as well as biogeochemical simulations, we show that a sea level fall in this interval caused enhanced pressure-release melting in the uppermost mantle, which may have induced a surge in magma and CO2 fluxes from mid-ocean ridges and oceanic hotspot volcanoes. Our results reveal a hitherto unrecognized negative feedback between glaciation and atmospheric CO2 predominantly controlled by marine volcanism on multi-millennial timescales of ∼5,000–15,000 years.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY licence
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 July 2017
Date of Acceptance: 9 May 2017
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 08:34

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