23.02.2018 – ICBM
By: Dr. Sibet Riexinger

Greenhouse Gas Carbon Dioxide Retained in Deep Southern Ocean During Last Ice Age

Katharina Pahnke, slicing a sediment core from the South Pacific. [Photo: K. Pahnke, ICBM]

Oldenburg. During the last glacial period, carbon dioxide has been "locked up" in the deep Southern Ocean. Current findings of scientists from Oldenburg and Bremerhaven, published in the recent issue of Science magazine, point at favourable conditions in the South Pacific.

A team around geochemist Katharina Pahnke, who heads the Max Planck Research Group for Marine Isotope Geochemistry at the ICBM, presents evidence that during the last Ice Age the Southern Pacific must have been strongly stratified. Most probably, large amounts of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide were tied up in the deep sea then.

After temperatures were rising at the end of the last glacial epoch the Southern Ocean became destratified, releasing sequestered CO2 to the atmosphere, thus eventually amplifying global warming.

idw press release of the Oldenburg University