Carbon burial in deep-sea sediment and implications for oceanic inventories of carbon and alkalinity over the last glacial cycle

Cartapanis, Olivier; Galbraith, Eric D.; Bianchi, Daniele; Jaccard, Samuel (2018). Carbon burial in deep-sea sediment and implications for oceanic inventories of carbon and alkalinity over the last glacial cycle. Climate of the past, 14(11), pp. 1819-1850. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-14-1819-2018

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Although it has long been assumed that the glacial–interglacial cycles of atmospheric CO2 occurred due to increased storage of CO2 in the ocean, with no change in the size of the “active” carbon inventory, there are signs that the geological CO2 supply rate to the active pool varied significantly. The resulting changes of the carbon inventory cannot be assessed without constraining the rate of carbon re- moval from the system, which largely occurs in marine sed- iments. The oceanic supply of alkalinity is also removed by the burial of calcium carbonate in marine sediments, which plays a major role in air–sea partitioning of the active carbon inventory. Here, we present the first global reconstruction of carbon and alkalinity burial in deep-sea sediments over the last glacial cycle. Although subject to large uncertainties, the reconstruction provides a first-order constraint on the effects of changes in deep-sea burial fluxes on global carbon and alkalinity inventories over the last glacial cycle. The results suggest that reduced burial of carbonate in the Atlantic Ocean was not entirely compensated by the increased burial in the Pacific basin during the last glacial period, which would have caused a gradual buildup of alkalinity in the ocean. We also consider the magnitude of possible changes in the larger but poorly constrained rates of burial on continental shelves, and show that these could have been significantly larger than the deep-sea burial changes. The burial-driven inventory variations are sufficiently large to have significantly altered the δ13C of the ocean–atmosphere carbon and changed the aver- age dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and alkalinity concentrations of the ocean by more than 100 μM, confirming that carbon burial fluxes were a dynamic, interactive component of the glacial cycles that significantly modified the size of the active carbon pool. Our results also suggest that geolog- ical sources and sinks were significantly unbalanced during the late Holocene, leading to a slow net removal flux on the order of 0.1 PgC yr−1 prior to the rapid input of carbon dur- ing the industrial period.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Cartapanis, Olivier and Jaccard, Samuel

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

1814-9324

Publisher:

Copernicus Publications

Language:

English

Submitter:

Samuel Jaccard

Date Deposited:

11 Dec 2018 15:16

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 22:23

Publisher DOI:

10.5194/cp-14-1819-2018

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.121809

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/121809

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