A Role for the North Pacific Ocean in Deglacial Atmopsheric CO2 Rise?

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Earth Sciences


At present the North Pacific Ocean is a source of atmospheric CO2, despite the ocean being a net sink of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. It is essential to future climate predictions to understand the North Pacific's contribution to atmospheric CO2. We propose to use the last glacial-interglacial transition as means of assessing the effects of changing ocean circulation, nutrient availability/utilization, and marine biologic productivity on atmospheric CO2. This research will provide insight and the role of the N Pacific in the glacial storage and interglacial release of carbon to the atmosphere. Our scientific aims will be achieved through a mutiproxy depth transect approach using five existing marine sediment cores from the NE Pacific continental margin within the subpolar-subtropical transition zone, which will integrate new and established geochemical techniques and allow us to determine: 1) the ventilation history of the NE Pacific water column over the last deglaciation., and 2) the role of nutrients in the glacial-interglacial productivity signal. This integrative approach ensures a more complete understanding of global biogeochemical cycling over the last deglaciation than is possible using a more traditional single site or single proxy approach. The outcomes of this research will illuminate the role of the North Pacific in regulating atmospheric CO2 during major climate transitions.


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