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Orbital-Scale Changes in Carbon Dioxide and Methane

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Presentation on theme: "Orbital-Scale Changes in Carbon Dioxide and Methane"— Presentation transcript:

1 Orbital-Scale Changes in Carbon Dioxide and Methane
Adrienne, Ally, Chase, Mohamed, Patrick, Travious Ice Cores Orbital-Scale Changes in CO2 Carbon in the Deep Ocean Orbital-Scale Changes in CH4 Orbital-Scale Climatic Roles: CO2 and CH4

2 Ice Cores

3 Ice Cores Break Down

4 Ice Cores Drilling into glacial ice allows us to see back in time.
Each winter new snow fall packs on top of previous snow. This creates a new band each year.

5 Drilling Scientists searching for the oldest ice in an ice sheet, drill from the top of the highest ice domes. Drilling is done over the summer in which it takes a few summers to drill completely through an ice sheet. Some ice cores can be dated by counting annually deposited layers.

6 Dating Ice Cores This ice core shows 12 Years of layering

7 Climate Readings Over Time

8 Trapping Air Bubbles in Ice
Snow Accumulation Rate Greenland = .5 m/yr Antarctica = .05 m/yr

9 Verifying Ice Core Measurements of Ancient Air
Before interpreting records of greenhouses gases trapped in ice cores Measuring air bubbles deposited in the upper layers of ice in cores taken from recent years

10 Orbital Scale Carbon Transfer: Carbon Isotopes
Most carbon occurs in oxygen-rich environments in the atmosphere, oceans, and vegetation. Carbon moves among these reservoirs in one of two forms Organic carbon, which includes both living and dead organic matter. Inorganic carbon, which consists mainly of ions dissolved in water.

11 How Ice Cores Are Dated Ice layers are counted from the top layer down starting from the year ice coring began. Ice flow models are based on the physical properties of the ice sheet. Why are air bubbles in ice cores younger than the ice in which they are sealed? Because the surrounding ice was deposited many years earlier. If deposition of ice is fast the age difference between the bubbles and the ice enclosing them will only be a few hundred years. If the deposition is slow the age offset can be as large as 2000 years or more.

12 Orbital-Scale Changes in CO2

13 Orbital-scale Changes in CO2
CO2 concentrations and Ice volume correlations date back more than 650,000 years Where could the 90-ppm decline of CO2 in the atmosphere during glacial intervals have gone?

14 Vegetation-soil Reservoirs
Extensive information on vegetation and soil carbon stores e.g. lake cores containing pollen Shows that continents had less vegetation during glaciations than during interglaciations  not like today Totals ~25% less vegetation ( tons) Expansive ice sheets displaced or covered forests Forests then replaced by grassland This means there is additional carbon missing from land vegetation and soil on top of that missing from the atmosphere!

15 Deep-ocean waters are only remaining available carbon reservoir
Ocean Reservoirs 30ppm CO2 values in surface ocean waters Surface waters exchange CO2 too rapidly (within a few years) with the atmosphere Question: If glacial atmosphere CO2 values were to decrease by 30%, what would happen soon after to surface ocean values? Answer: Surface ocean CO2 values would also decrease by ~30%. Deep-ocean waters are only remaining available carbon reservoir

16 Total CO2 Transferred <1000 billion tons of carbon removed
from the atmosphere, vegetation, soil and surface oceans and added to the deep ocean. Keep these numbers in mind…

17 Carbon Transfer from Land to Ocean
Organic carbon in vegetation has negative δ13C values of -25% Inorganic carbon has values near 0% Most organic carbon transferred converts to inorganic This causes inorganic carbon δ13C values to become even more negative 12C-enriched carbon was added to deep ocean waters during glaciations

18 Do these intervals look familiar to anyone?
Carbon Transfer from Land to Ocean (38,000) (0%) (530) (-25%) = (38,530) (x%) Inorganic C Mean C added Mean Glacial ocean Mean in ocean δ13C from land δ13C carbon total δ13C x=-0.34 If x=δ13C value of glacial inorganic carbon in the ocean, then δ13C values shifted to -0.34% Shows correlation between carbon transfer and ice volume δ13C value variations greater than -.4% suggest that other factors may be in effect Do these intervals look familiar to anyone?

19 To Re-Cap Ice core samples show a decrease in atmospheric CO2 of 90 ppm (~30%) Terrestrial vegetation was ~25% less, as well Surface oceans (in equilibrium with the atmosphere) also had less CO2 (~30) CO2 must have gone into deep-ocean waters Determined using evidence obtained from ice cores, continental lake floor cores, Pacific ocean seafloor cores, δ13C measurements in foraminifera and δ13C/δ18O correlations

20 Carbon in the Deep Ocean

21 CO2 Solubility in Seawater
Changes in ocean temperature affect solubility of CO2 CO2 dissolves faster in cold water ~10 ppm per 1ºC drop Surface water has cooled from 2º C to -4ºC in last 20k years Deep sea cooled an avg. 2ºC to -3ºC Should cause a ~20-30 ppm drop in atmospheric CO2 levels

22 Effect of Salinity on CO2 Solubility
CO2 dissolves easier in low salinity water Glacial oceans were saltier because of freshwater locked in ice (avg. increase of 1.1‰) Increase in ocean salinity would raise atmospheric CO2 by 11 ppm 11 ppm increase offsets ppm decrease from temp. change to ~14 ppm CO2 decrease

23 Biological Transfer and Carbon Pumping
Photosynthesis occurs creating phytoplankton. Phytoplankton incorporate with organic matter and sink to the deep ocean. May have been responsible for reduced atmospheric CO2 levels during glaciations. An example of modern-day carbon production of the surface ocean.

24 More on Photosynthesis
6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2 Calcium Carbonate Pump H2O + CO2 → H2CO3 H2CO3 → H+ + HCO3- Ca2++ 2HCO3 → CaCO3 + H2O + CO2

25 Carbon Pumping Continued
Organic material that falls to ocean floor remains unless it is moved to surface by upwelling High productivity occurs in areas where upwelling provides nutrients to surface

26 The Iron Fertilization Hypothesis as proposed by John Martin
An iron “boost” brought on by strong glacial winds Possibly stimulates more productivity and carbon pumping to the deep ocean May deliver other key elements to stimulate carbon productivity and is still being debated

27 Glacial Carbon Pump CO2 at surface decreases as photosynthesis increases The carbon that is fixed by photosynthesis is 12C and therefore 13C becomes more abundant Differences in δ 13C levels indicates strength of the carbon pump

28 Changes in Deep Water Circulation How it's measured
Equation used to track carbon transfers on Earth. The standard established for carbon-13 work was the Pee Dee Belemnite or (PDB) and was based on a Cretaceous marine fossil, Belemnitella americana, which was from the Pee Dee Formation in South Carolina.

29 Circulation of Ocean

30 Changes in Deep-water Circulation
δ13C measurements from foraminifera suggest circulation patterns have changed. Focuses on regional δ13C variations δ13C aging also affects patterns

31 Changing sources of Atlantic deep water
The percentage of deep water originating in the North Atlantic and flowing of the equator during the last 1.25 Myr has been consistently lower during glaciations than during interglaciations.

32 Deep-Ocean Carbon Deposit Causes
1. Evidence of carbon transfer from ice to ocean δ13C and δ18O Benthic forminifera measurements to detect δ13C levels during glaciation 2. Increased CO2 solubility in Seawater Affected by temperature and salinity 3. Biological transfer from surface waters Carbon pumps Iron fertilization hypothesis 4. Changes in deep-water circulation Regional variations Atlantic circulation changes

33 Carbon In the Deep Ocean Review
Cold seawater dissolves CO2 easier CO2 levels will drop by 9 ppm for each 1º of ocean cooling CO2 dissolves better in seawater with a lower salinity An increase in ocean salinity would raise atmospheric CO2 by 11 ppm Surface water has cooled from 2º C to -4ºC in last 20k years Deep sea temperature averages cooled 2ºC to -3ºC Should cause a ~20-30 ppm drop in atmospheric CO2 levels

34 Orbital Scale Changes in CH4

35 Orbital Scale Changes in CH4
Most natural Methane production occurs in wetlands Requires oxygen poor environments Microbes in wetlands consume oxygen quicker than it can diffuse from the atmosphere Fermentation occurs -microorganisms (methanogens) ferment acetate and H2-CO2 into methane and carbon dioxide

36 Methane Formation in Wetlands

37 Methane Concentrations in Ice Cores
Vostock Ice, 23,000 year intervals cycle Maxima ppb Minima ppb Very similar to northern hemisphere summer insolation

38 Insolation Effects on Monsoons
High insolation heats land faster than ocean Warm land air expands and rises Low pressure brings in water vapor

39 Monsoons, Insolation and Methane
Monsoon intensity related to insolation levels Monsoons increase wetland area size More wetlands-more methane being produced


41 Summary Methane is naturally produced in wetlands
Insolation levels and monsoon intensity are linked Methane variations at the 23,000 year cycle linked to changes in summer monsoons Higher insolation= more monsoons= more methane

42 Orbital scale climatic roles of co2 and ch4
Forcing Feedback

43 Milankovitch Milankovitch theory

44 Milankovitch cycles Three different cycles 23,000 year (Precession)
41,000 year (Obliquity) 100,000 year (Eccentric)

45 Summary of cycles 23,000 year cycle 41,000 year cycle
Co2 and methane act as a forcing 41,000 year cycle Co2 and methane act as a feedback 100,000 year cycle Co2 and methane act as a combination of a large feedback role and a smaller forcing role.

46 23,000 year cycle highlights Both greenhouse gases Co2 Methane Forcing
Response Co2 Methane

47 41,000 year cycle highlights Both greenhouse gases Co2 Feedback
Response Not forcing? Co2 Signals

48 100,000 year cycle highlights Both greenhouse gases
Mixed feedback/forcing role Not clear? Changes in Earth’s orbit Summer insolation forcing

49 Time lags and phases Co2 Ice sheets Earth’s orbit Leads
Summer insolation forcing Leads “forcing” or a “feedback” ?

50 Recap Phasing of gases Changes in ice volume

51 Recap Ice Cores Orbital-Scale Changes in CO2 Carbon in the Deep Ocean
Orbital-Scale Changes in CH4 Orbital-Scale Climatic Roles: CO2 and CH4

52 Works Cited Ruddiman, W. (2008). Earth's climate past and future. (2 ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.


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