Last Glacial Maximum CO2 and δ13C successfully reconciled
Bouttes, N., Paillard, D., Roche, D. M., Brovkin, V. and Bopp, L. (2011) Last Glacial Maximum CO2 and δ13C successfully reconciled. Geophysical Research Letters. L02705. ISSN 0094-8276
To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2010GL044499
During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼21,000 years ago) the cold climate was strongly tied to low atmospheric CO2 concentration (∼190 ppm). Although it is generally assumed that this low CO2 was due to an expansion of the oceanic carbon reservoir, simulating the glacial level has remained a challenge especially with the additional δ13C constraint. Indeed the LGM carbon cycle was also characterized by a modern-like δ13C in the atmosphere and a higher surface to deep Atlantic δ13C gradient indicating probable changes in the thermohaline circulation. Here we show with a model of intermediate complexity, that adding three oceanic mechanisms: brine induced stratification, stratification-dependant diffusion and iron fertilization to the standard glacial simulation (which includes sea level drop, temperature change, carbonate compensation and terrestrial carbon release) decreases CO2 down to the glacial value of ∼190 ppm and simultaneously matches glacial atmospheric and oceanic δ13C inferred from proxy data. LGM CO2 and δ13C can at last be successfully reconciled.