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Southern Ocean carbon sink enhanced by sea-ice feedbacks at the Antarctic Cold Reversal

Fogwill, C. J., Turney, C. S. M., Menviel, L., Baker, A., Weber, M. E., Ellis, B., Thomas, Z. A., Golledges, N. R., Ethereridge, D., Rubino, M., Thornton, D. P., van Ommen, T. D., Moy, A. D., Curran, M. A. J., Davies, S., Bird, M. I., Munksgaard, N. C., Rootes, C. M., Millman, H., Vohra, J., Rivera, A., Mackintosh, A., Pike, J. ORCID:, Hall, I. R. ORCID:, Bagshaw, E. A. ORCID:, Rainsley, E., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Montinari, M., Cage, A., Harris, M. R. P., Jones, R., Power, A., Love, J., Young, J., Weyrich, L. S. and Cooper, A. 2020. Southern Ocean carbon sink enhanced by sea-ice feedbacks at the Antarctic Cold Reversal. Nature Geoscience 13 , pp. 489-497. 10.1038/s41561-020-0587-0

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The Southern Ocean occupies some 14% of the planet’s surface and plays a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle and climate. It provides a direct connection to the deep ocean carbon reservoir through biogeochemical processes that include surface primary productivity, remineralisation at depth, and the upwelling of carbon-rich water masses. However, the role of these different processes in modulating past and future air-sea carbon flux remains poorly understood. A key period in this regard is the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR, 14.6-12.7 kyr BP), a period of mid- to high-latitude cooling that coincided with a sustained plateau in deglacial atmospheric rise in CO2 globally. Here we reconstruct high-latitude Southern Ocean surface productivity from marine derived aerosols captured in a highly-resolved horizontal ice core. Our multiproxy reconstruction reveals a coherent signal of enhanced productivity across the ACR. Transient climate modelling indicates this period coincided with maximum seasonal variability in sea-ice extent, implying that sea-ice biological feedbacks enhanced CO2 sequestration, creating a significant regional marine carbon sink that contributed to the sustained plateau in CO2 at the ACR. Our results highlights the role Antarctic sea ice plays in controlling global CO2, and demonstrates the need to incorporate such feedbacks in climate-carbon models.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 1752-0894
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 June 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 May 2020
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2022 17:13

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