Deglacial ventilation changes in the deep Southwest Pacific

Processes underlying changes in the oceanic carbon storage during the Last Glacial Maximum and the subsequent deglaciation are not fully understood. Here, we present a new high‐resolution radiocarbon reconstruction (expressed as δ14R) at the depth of the modern Lower Circumpolar Deep Water from the Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean. Our record shows δ14R increases during Heinrich Stadial 1 and the Younger Dryas that agree with the deep‐to‐shallow transfer of old carbon in the Southern Ocean during these two periods. Our record also shows, for the first time, a clear ∼80‰ decline in δ14R during the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR), indicating the development of poorly ventilated conditions in the deep Southwest Pacific. These conditions are consistent with the increased Southern Ocean sea‐ice and associated stratification between Upper and Lower Circumpolar Deep Waters. This enhanced stratification in the deep South Pacific possibly facilitated greater carbon storage in the ocean interior during the ACR, effectively limiting oceanic CO2 release and contributing to the atmospheric CO2 plateau as observed in ice cores at that time.


carbon cycle, deglaciation, radiocarbon, Southern Ocean, ventilation

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Dai Yuhao, Yu Jimin, Rafter Patrick A. (2021). Deglacial ventilation changes in the deep Southwest Pacific. Paleoceanography And Paleoclimatology. 36 (2). e2020PA004172 (11p.).,

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