Centennial-scale records of total organic carbon in sediment cores from the South Yellow Sea, China
Global carbon cycling is a significant factor that controls climate change. The centennial-scale variations in total organic carbon (TOC) contents and its sources in marginal sea sediments may reflect the influence of human activities on global climate change. In this study, two fine-grained sediment cores from the Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass of the South Yellow Sea were used to systematically determine TOC contents and stable carbon isotope ratios. These results were combined with previous data of black carbon and 210Pb dating from which we reconstructed the centennial-scale initial sequences of TOC, terrigenous TOC (TOCter) and marine autogenous TOC (TOCmar) after selecting suitable models to correct the measured TOC (TOCcor). These sequences showed that the TOCter decreased with time in the both cores while the TOCmar increased, particularly the rapid growth in core H43 since the late 1960s. According to the correlation between the Huanghe (Yellow) River discharge and the TOCcor, TOCter, or TOCmar, we found that the TOCter in the two cores mainly derived from the Huanghe River and was transported by it, and that higher Huanghe River discharge could strengthen the decomposition of TOCmar. The newly obtained initial TOC sequences provide important insights into the interaction between human activities and natural processes.
Keywordsorganic carbon Middelburg’s model Yellow Sea
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