Ice Core Records of Atmospheric N2O Covering the Last 106,000 Years

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Science  15 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5635, pp. 945-948
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085293

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Paleoatmospheric records of trace-gas concentrations recovered from ice cores provide important sources of information on many biogeochemical cycles involving carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Here, we present a 106,000-year record of atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O) along with corresponding isotopic records spanning the last 30,000 years, which together suggest minimal changes in the ratio of marine to terrestrial N2O production. During the last glacial termination, both marine and oceanic N2O emissions increased by 40 ± 8%. We speculate that our records do not support those hypotheses that invoke enhanced export production to explain low carbon dioxide values during glacial periods.

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