A reanalysis of the effect of black carbon emissions has found that it is second only to carbon dioxide emissions in its warming impact on the climate. Together carbon dioxide, black carbon, and methane emissions represent the anthropogenic sources with the largest impact on Earth’s climate.
Oxygen is fundamental to oceanic biological processes and its decline can cause major changes in ocean productivity and biodiversity. Over the past 50 years low oxygen zones in the open oceans have expanded by an area equivalent to half the size of Canada and hundreds of coastal sites now have low oxygen concentrations that limit the distribution and abundance of animal populations.
Marine cores collected in the western tropical Pacific were used to compare the chronology of Southern Ocean warming near Antarctica and rising CO2 during the last deglaciation. The results provide evidence that the Southern Ocean off Antarctica warmed by ~2°C between 19,000 and 17,000 years before the present, about 1,000 years before the rise in atmospheric CO2.
This study reports measurements from ocean floor sediments that provide the first direct evidence that not only do variations in the primary North/South Atlantic current correlate with periods of rapid warming and slower cooling in the Northern Hemisphere during the last ice age, but that the changes in the Atlantic overturning current occurred before and likely initiated these warming/cooling cycles.