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Pacific's CO2 'burp' ended last ice age?

 Times of India, Delhi, 8th July 2014


A massive 'burp' of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the North Pacific Ocean may have triggered the end of the last ice age around 17,000 years ago, a new study has found. The study, led by James Rae of the University of St Andrews in Scotland, found that changes in ocean circulation in the North Pacific caused a massive 'burp' of CO2 to be released from the deep ocean into the atmosphere, helping warm the planet and triggering the end of the ice age.


Previously, scientists had said the Antarctic Ocean and the North Atlantic were the only places likely to release deglacial CO2 due to their deep water formation (a body of water within the ocean with common properties). However, a change in rainfall over the North Pacific, caused by the East Asian monsoon and the westerly storm track, made the ocean surface saltier and less buoyant, allowing it to form deep water. This allowed CO2 stored in the deep Pacific to be released to the atmosphere, where it helped warm the planet and melt back the ice sheets that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere.