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ArticleInsensitivity of alkenone carbon isotopes to atmospheric CO2 at low to moderate CO2 levels(European Geosciences Union, 2019-03-27) Badger, Marcus P. S. ; Chalk, Thomas B. ; Foster, Gavin L. ; Bown, Paul R. ; Gibbs, Samantha J. ; Sexton, Philip F. ; Schmidt, Daniela N. ; Pälike, Heiko ; Mackensen, Andreas ; Pancost, Richard D.Atmospheric pCO2 is a critical component of the global carbon system and is considered to be the major control of Earth's past, present, and future climate. Accurate and precise reconstructions of its concentration through geological time are therefore crucial to our understanding of the Earth system. Ice core records document pCO2 for the past 800 kyr, but at no point during this interval were CO2 levels higher than today. Interpretation of older pCO2 has been hampered by discrepancies during some time intervals between two of the main ocean-based proxy methods used to reconstruct pCO2: the carbon isotope fractionation that occurs during photosynthesis as recorded by haptophyte biomarkers (alkenones) and the boron isotope composition (δ11B) of foraminifer shells. Here, we present alkenone and δ11B-based pCO2 reconstructions generated from the same samples from the Pliocene and across a Pleistocene glacial–interglacial cycle at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 999. We find a muted response to pCO2 in the alkenone record compared to contemporaneous ice core and δ11B records, suggesting caution in the interpretation of alkenone-based records at low pCO2 levels. This is possibly caused by the physiology of CO2 uptake in the haptophytes. Our new understanding resolves some of the inconsistencies between the proxies and highlights that caution may be required when interpreting alkenone-based reconstructions of pCO2.
ArticleCauses of ice age intensification across the Mid-Pleistocene Transition(National Academy of Sciences, 2017-11-27) Chalk, Thomas B. ; Hain, Mathis P. ; Foster, Gavin L. ; Rohling, Eelco J. ; Sexton, Philip F. ; Badger, Marcus P. S. ; Cherry, Soraya G. ; Hasenfratz, Adam P. ; Haug, Gerald H. ; Jaccard, Samuel L. ; Martínez-García, Alfredo ; Pälike, Heiko ; Pancost, Richard D. ; Wilson, Paul A.During the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT; 1,200–800 kya), Earth’s orbitally paced ice age cycles intensified, lengthened from ∼40,000 (∼40 ky) to ∼100 ky, and became distinctly asymmetrical. Testing hypotheses that implicate changing atmospheric CO2 levels as a driver of the MPT has proven difficult with available observations. Here, we use orbitally resolved, boron isotope CO2 data to show that the glacial to interglacial CO2 difference increased from ∼43 to ∼75 μatm across the MPT, mainly because of lower glacial CO2 levels. Through carbon cycle modeling, we attribute this decline primarily to the initiation of substantive dust-borne iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean during peak glacial stages. We also observe a twofold steepening of the relationship between sea level and CO2-related climate forcing that is suggestive of a change in the dynamics that govern ice sheet stability, such as that expected from the removal of subglacial regolith or interhemispheric ice sheet phase-locking. We argue that neither ice sheet dynamics nor CO2 change in isolation can explain the MPT. Instead, we infer that the MPT was initiated by a change in ice sheet dynamics and that longer and deeper post-MPT ice ages were sustained by carbon cycle feedbacks related to dust fertilization of the Southern Ocean as a consequence of larger ice sheets.
ArticleQuantifying K, U, and Th contents of marine sediments using shipboard natural gamma radiation spectra measured on DV JOIDES Resolution(John Wiley & Sons, 2017-03-21) De Vleeschouwer, David ; Dunlea, Ann G. ; Auer, Gerald ; Anderson, Chloe H. ; Brumsack, Hans-Jürgen ; de Loach, Aaron ; Gurnis, Michael ; Huh, Youngsook ; Ishiwa, Takeshige ; Jang, Kwangchul ; Kominz, Michelle A. ; März, Christian ; Schnetger, Bernhard ; Murray, Richard W. ; Pälike, Heiko ; Expedition 356 Shipboard ScientistsDuring International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) expeditions, shipboard-generated data provide the first insights into the cored sequences. The natural gamma radiation (NGR) of the recovered material, for example, is routinely measured on the ocean drilling research vessel DV JOIDES Resolution. At present, only total NGR counts are readily available as shipboard data, although full NGR spectra (counts as a function of gamma-ray energy level) are produced and archived. These spectra contain unexploited information, as one can estimate the sedimentary contents of potassium (K), thorium (Th), and uranium (U) from the characteristic gamma-ray energies of isotopes in the 40K, 232Th, and 238U radioactive decay series. Dunlea et al. (2013) quantified K, Th, and U contents in sediment from the South Pacific Gyre by integrating counts over specific energy levels of the NGR spectrum. However, the algorithm used in their study is unavailable to the wider scientific community due to commercial proprietary reasons. Here, we present a new MATLAB algorithm for the quantification of NGR spectra that is transparent and accessible to future NGR users. We demonstrate the algorithm's performance by comparing its results to shore-based inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), inductively coupled plasma-emission spectrometry (ICP-ES), and quantitative wavelength-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses. Samples for these comparisons come from eleven sites (U1341, U1343, U1366-U1369, U1414, U1428-U1430, and U1463) cored in two oceans during five expeditions. In short, our algorithm rapidly produces detailed high-quality information on sediment properties during IODP expeditions at no extra cost.