ATMOSPHERES

Relating CO2 and Temperature Variations

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Science  10 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5459, pp. 1713
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5459.1713c

The puzzle of climate has many pieces that need to be assembled before it is solved, including how to relate changes in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 over time to corresponding changes in atmospheric temperatures. Indermühle et al. measured atmospheric CO2 concentrations for the period between 60,000 and 20,000 years ago by using ice samples from Taylor Dome, Antarctica. This cold glacial interval is of great interest in part because it was punctuated by a handful of global temperature increases. The authors compared their results with the temperature record of ice from Vostok, Antarctica and found that the four distinct peaks, during which CO2 concentrations rose by as much as 20 parts per million, occurred contemporaneously with the Vostok temperature maxima. These higher resolution measurements will help researchers to better understand the mechanisms that produced concentration changes of that magnitude.—HJS

Geophys. Res. Lett.27, 735 (2000).

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