Atmospheric CO2 and d13C-CO2 reconstruction of the little ice age from antarctic ice cores

The decrease of atmospheric CO2 concentration recorded in Antarctic ice around 1600 AD is one of the most significant atmospheric changes to have occurred during the last millennia, before the onset of the industrial period.Together with the temperature decrease, the CO2 drop has been used to derive the sensitivity of carbon stores to climate. However, the cause of it is still under debate because models are not yet able to reproduce either its magnitude, or its timing. Here we present new measurements of the CO2 concentration decrease recorded in an ice core from a medium accumulation rate site in Antarctica (DML). We show that the new record is compatible(differences <2 ppm) with the CO2 record from the high accumulation rate DSS site on Law Dome (East Antarctica), when the different age distributions are taken into account. We have also measured the d13C-CO2 change in DML ice, filling a gap around 1600 AD in the DSS d13C record. We use a double deconvolution of the CO2 and d13C records together to provide quantitative evidence that the CO2 decrease was caused by a change in the net flux to the terrestrial biosphere. Finally, we provide a new interpretation of a published record showing increasing atmospheric carbonyl sulphide during the CO2 decrease, suggesting that cooler LIA climate affected terrestrial biospheric fluxes. Altogether our findings support the hypothesis that reduced soil heterotrophic respiration is likely to have given the most significant contribution to the LIA CO2 decrease implying a positive CO2-climate feedback. © 2015, Authors.
Climates, Carbon dioxide, Ice, Antarctic regions, Biosphere, Ambient temperature
Rubino, M., Etheridge, D., Trudinger, C., Allison, C., Rayner, P., Mulvaney, R., Steele, P., Langenfelds, R., Sturgess, W., Curren, M., & Smith, A. (2015). Atmospheric CO₂ reconstruction of the little ice age from Antarctic ice cores. Presentation to the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015, 12th -17th April 2015. Vienna, Austria,