A stagnation event in the deep South Atlantic during the last interglacial period

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1514-1517
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256620

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A brief hiccup in deep ocean circulation

During the last interglacial period, Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) formation slowed markedly. This densest ocean water sinks to the bottom of the sea, and its production helps to flush the oceans and eventually to recycle the carbon dioxide (CO2) that forms from sinking organic matter back into the atmosphere. If the AABW production rate decreases, then CO2 accumulates at depth, potentially causing a corresponding drop in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Hayes et al. found evidence, in the form of a uranium spike, in deep sea sediments that such a slowdown in AABW formation occurred ∼127,000 years ago, which may have caused the atmospheric CO2 minimum observed at that time.

Science, this issue p. 1514