Climate Dynamics

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 713–719 | Cite as

Effects of physical changes in the ocean on the atmospheric pCO2: glacial-interglacial cycles

  • Takasumi Kurahashi-Nakamura
  • Ayako Abe-Ouchi
  • Yasuhiro Yamanaka


Based on LGM experiments with an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model, we systematically investigated the effects of physical changes in the ocean and induced biological effects as well on the low atmospheric CO2 concentration (pCO2) at the last glacial maximum (LGM). Numerical experiments with an oceanic carbon-cycle model showed that pCO2 was lowered by ~30 ppm in the LGM ocean. Most of the pCO2 reduction was explained by the change in CO2 solubility in the ocean due to lower sea surface temperature (SST) during the LGM. Moreover, we found that SST changes in the high-latitude Northern Atlantic could explain more than one-third of the overall change in pCO2 induced by global SST change, suggesting an important feedback between the Laurentide ice sheet and pCO2.


Paleoclimate Marine carbon cycle Carbon dioxide Glacial-interglacial cycles 



We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for thoughtful comments and discussion which improved the manuscript. This study is supported by JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takasumi Kurahashi-Nakamura
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ayako Abe-Ouchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yasuhiro Yamanaka
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Frontier Research Center for Global Change, JAMSTECYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Center for Climate System ResearchThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  3. 3.School of Geographical SciencesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  4. 4.Graduate School of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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