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Meridional reorganizations of marine and terrestrial productivity during Heinrich events
Menviel, L.; Timmermann, A.; Mouchet, A.; Timm, O. (2008). Meridional reorganizations of marine and terrestrial productivity during Heinrich events. Paleoceanography 23(1).
In: Paleoceanography. American Geophysical Union: Washington, DC. ISSN 0883-8305; e-ISSN 1944-9186, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Menviel, L.
  • Timmermann, A.
  • Mouchet, A.
  • Timm, O.

    To study the response of the global carbon cycle to a weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a series of freshwater perturbation experiments is conducted both under preindustrial and glacial conditions using the earth system model of intermediate complexity LOVECLIM. A shutdown of the AMOC leads to substantial cooling of the North Atlantic, a weak warming of the Southern Hemisphere, intensification of the northeasterly trade winds, and a southward shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Trade wind anomalies change upwelling in the tropical oceans and hence marine productivity. Furthermore, hydrological changes associated with a southward displacement of the ITCZ lead to a reduction of terrestrial carbon stocks mainly in northern Africa and northern South America in agreement with paleoproxy data. In the freshwater perturbation experiments the ocean acts as a sink of CO2, primarily through increased solubility. The net atmospheric CO2 anomaly induced by a shutdown of the AMOC amounts to about + 15 ppmv and - 10 ppmv for preindustrial and glacial conditions, respectively. This background state dependence can be explained by the fact that the glacial climate is drier and the terrestrial vegetation therefore releases a smaller amount of carbon to the atmosphere. This study demonstrates that the net CO2 response to large-scale ocean circulation changes has significant contributions both from the terrestrial and marine carbon cycle.

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