Breakup of last glacial deep stratification in the South Pacific

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 900-904
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2473

CO2 escaped from the deep

Why did the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide rise so much and so quickly during the last deglaciation? Evidence has begun to accumulate suggesting that old, carbon-rich water accumulated at depth in the Southern Ocean, which then released its charge when Southern Ocean stratification broke down as the climate there warmed. Basak et al. present measurements of neodymium isotopes that clearly show that the deepwater column of the glacial southern South Pacific was stratified, just as would be necessary for the accumulation of old, carbon-rich water. Their data also show that North Atlantic processes were not the dominant control on Southern Ocean water-mass structure during that interval, as has been thought.

Science, this issue p. 900

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