Southern Ocean upwelling, Earth s obliquity, and glacial-interglacial atmospheric CO2 change
Previous studies have suggested that during the late Pleistocene ice ages, surface-deep exchange was somehow weakened in the Southern Ocean s Antarctic Zone, which reduced the leakage of deeply sequestered carbon dioxide and thus contributed to the lower atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of the ice ages. Here, high-resolution diatom-bound nitrogen isotope measurements from the Indian sector of the Antarctic Zone reveal three modes of change in Southern Westerly Wind-driven upwelling, each affecting atmospheric carbon dioxide. Two modes, related to global climate and the bipolar seesaw, have been proposed previously. The third mode-which arises from the meridional temperature gradient as affected by Earth s obliquity (axial tilt)-can explain the lag of atmospheric carbon dioxide behind climate during glacial inception and deglaciation. This obliquity-induced lag, in turn, makes carbon dioxide a delayed climate amplifier in the late Pleistocene glacial cycles. © 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.