CARBON CYCLE

Deciphering atmospheric CO2 change

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Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, pp. 195-196
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6411.195-d

Many different processes and carbon sources can affect the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), so to understand past, present, and likely future variability of CO2, those mechanisms and reservoirs must be identified. Bauska et al. present a record of the stable carbon isotopic composition of CO2 over the interval between 50,000 and 35,000 years ago, which reveals that the primary source of atmospheric carbon during millennial-duration events probably was organic carbon residing in the deep ocean, whereas more abrupt events occurring over centennial time scales were associated both with hydrological change in the tropics and rapid increases in Northern Hemisphere temperature.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 45, 7731 (2018).

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