[en] A reduction of the carbonate-carbon to organic-carbon export rain ratio during glacial times has been advanced to explain the glacial–interglacial atmospheric CO2 variations. This hypothesis is tested and implications for the dynamics of sedimentary carbonate preservation and dissolution are explored with a multi-box model (MBM) of the ocean carbon cycle, fully coupled to a new transient early diagenesis model (called MEDUSA).
A peak reduction of the rain ratio by 40% at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was found to produce a net atmospheric pCO2 reduction of about 40 ppm. Changing shelf carbonate accumulation rates and continental weathering inputs produced a 55–60 ppm reduction. The combination of the two mechanisms generates a pCO2 change of 90–95 ppm, which compares well with the observed data. However, the resulting model sedimentary record does not conform to actual sedimentary records. The changes related to continental shelf processes and variable weathering flux depress the calcite saturation horizon (CSH) by about 1 km at the LGM; if rain ratio variations are also considered, that depression increases by another km. In addition to this large amplitude for the CSH, possibly due to the adopted box-model approach, the changing rain ratio also leads to transition zone changes in the model sedimentary record that are opposite in phase with data-based reconstructions. Realistic changes in the aragonite fraction of the carbonate rain were found to have only a minimal impact on atmospheric pCO2. Finally, chemical erosion of deep-sea sediment was shown to reduce the amplitude of variation of the sedimentary CCD by about 10–20%. It may provide a mechanism to improve the model-data agreement.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - FNRS ; Commission européenne : Direction générale de la Recherche
Carbonate chemistry, carbon cycle and climate change (a multidisciplinary view