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Journal Article

Deepening the Late Quaternary's Deep Ocean Carbon Mysteries


Farmer,  Jesse R.
Climate Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Farmer, J. R. (2022). Deepening the Late Quaternary's Deep Ocean Carbon Mysteries. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(13): e2022GL099161. doi:10.1029/2022GL099161.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-1282-D
Changes to the carbon content of the deep ocean, the largest reservoir in the surficial carbon cycle, are capable of altering atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and thereby Earth's climate. While the role of the deep ocean's carbon inventory in the last ice age has been thoroughly investigated, comparatively little is known about whether the deep ocean contributed to the change in the pacing and intensity of ice ages around 1 million years ago during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT). Qin et al. (2022, https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL097121) provide new reconstructions of deep ocean carbonate ion saturation, a proxy for carbon content, from the deep Pacific Ocean across the MPT. Intriguingly, their results show that a reduction in deep Pacific carbonate ion saturation across the MPT occurred at different intervals from carbonate ion saturation decline in the deep Atlantic Ocean. These results suggest a more nuanced contribution of whole-ocean carbon sequestration to the climate changes reconstructed across the MPT.