In ice-ages, CO2 hides in the oceans (yes we knew that)

Antarctic Glacier Image: Paomic

It comes as not even a tiny surprize that when someone asks “Where does all the CO2 go in an ice age?” that the answer is “The Ocean“.

We already know temperatures rise 800 years before CO2 levels (Caillon 2003), and we know the oceans contain 50 times as much CO2 as the sky. Moreover, basic chemistry tells us that CO2 (like all gases) will dissolve better in cold water, and be released as the water warms. To cap it all off, the deep abyss of the oceans turns over once every millenia or so (which fits loosely with the “lag” between temperature and CO2 levels).

But you would think this new research was solving a deep mystery, rather than confirming what most sane knowledgeable people would expect. Nonetheless, this may be the first detailed study of C13 levels going back 24,000 years.

CO2 was hidden in the ocean during the Ice Age


Why did the atmosphere contain so little carbon dioxide (CO2) during the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago? Why did it rise when the Earth’s climate became warmer? Processes in the ocean are responsible for this, says […]