CO 2 drawdown due to particle ballasting by glacial aeolian dust: an estimate based on the ocean carbon cycle model MPIOM/HAMOCC version 1.6.2p3

Heinemann, Malte; Segschneider, Joachim; Schneider, Birgit

Despite intense efforts, the mechanisms that drive glacial–interglacial changes in atmospheric inline-formulapCO2 are not fully understood. Here, we aim at quantifying the potential contribution of aeolian dust deposition changes to the atmospheric inline-formulapCO2 drawdown during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). To this end, we use the Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPIOM) and the embedded Hamburg Ocean Carbon Cycle model (HAMOCC), including a new parameterization of particle ballasting that accounts for the acceleration of sinking organic soft tissue in the ocean by higher-density biogenic calcite and opal particles, as well as mineral dust. Sensitivity experiments with reconstructed LGM dust deposition rates indicate that the acceleration of detritus by mineral dust played a small role in atmospheric inline-formulapCO2 variations during glacial–interglacial cycles – on the order of 5 ppmv, compared to the reconstructed inline-formula∼80 ppmv rise in atmospheric inline-formulapCO2 during the last deglaciation. The additional effect of the LGM dust deposition, namely the enhanced fertilization by the iron that is associated with the glacial dust, likely played a more important role; although the full iron fertilization effect can not be estimated in the particular model version used here due to underestimated present-day non-diazotroph iron limitation, fertilization of diazotrophs in the tropical Pacific already leads to an atmospheric inline-formulapCO2 drawdown of around 10 ppmv.

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Heinemann, Malte / Segschneider, Joachim / Schneider, Birgit: CO2 drawdown due to particle ballasting by glacial aeolian dust: an estimate based on the ocean carbon cycle model MPIOM/HAMOCC version 1.6.2p3. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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