A team of scientists has discovered that a giant ‘burp’ of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the North Pacific Ocean helped trigger the end of last ice age, around 17,000 years ago.
A recent study, led by Dr James Rae of the University of St Andrews, found that changes in ocean circulation in the North Pacific caused a massive ‘burp’ of CO2 to be released from the deep ocean into the atmosphere, helping to warm the planet sufficiently to trigger the end of the ice age.
Previously, scientists have suggested that the Antarctic Ocean and North Atlantic were the only places likely to release deglacial CO2, due to their deep water formation. However, a change in rainfall over the North Pacific region, caused by the East Asian monsoon and the Westerly storm track, made the ocean surface saltier and less buoyant, allowing it to form deep water. This allowed CO2 stored in the deep Pacific to be released to the atmosphere, where it helped warm the planet and melt back the ice sheets that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere.
Read more at: Phys.org