Carbon ‘leak’ may have warmed the planet for 11,000 years, encouraging human civilization

Image showing three fossils

Image showing three fossils

Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

The oceans are the planet’s most important depository for atmospheric carbon dioxide on time scales of decades to millenia. But the process of locking away greenhouse gas is weakened by activity of the Southern Ocean, so an increase in its activity could explain the mysterious warmth of the past 11,000 years, an international team of researchers reports.