Variations in Atmospheric N2O Concentration During Abrupt Climatic Changes

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Science  09 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5425, pp. 227-230
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5425.227

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas that is presently increasing at a rate of 0.25 percent per year. Records measured along two ice cores from Summit in Central Greenland provide information about variations in atmospheric N2O concentration in the past. The record covering the past millennium reduces the uncertainty regarding the preindustrial concentration. Records covering the last glacial-interglacial transition and a fast climatic change during the last ice age show that the N2O concentration changed in parallel with fast temperature variations in the Northern Hemisphere. This provides important information about the response of the environment to global climatic changes.

  • * Present address: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stauffer{at}

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