Föllmi, Karl B.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
The role of nutrients and their impact on primary productivity and the fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 over glacial-interglacial periods are intensely debated. One of the cornerstones is the role of phosphorus (P; in the form of phosphate). Suggestions as to the importance of P evolved from an earlier proposal that P actively participated 5 in changing productivity rates and therefore climate change, to the most recent one that changes in the glacial ocean inventory of phosphorus were small and not influ- ential if compared to other macronutrients, such as nitrogen. Using new data coming from a selection of ODP sites, we illustrate oceanic P sedimentary phases distribu- tion and reactive P burial fluxes, and we show how P burial fluxes changed over the 10 last glacial-interglacial period. Concentrations of reactive P are generally lower dur- ing glacial times, while mass accumulation rates (MAR) show higher variability. On a global scale, glacial burial fluxes of reactive P are lower than those during interglacial periods by 7–10%, because lack of burial of reactive P on the glacial reduced shelf was apparently not compensated by burial in other regions of the ocean. Using the 15 calculated changes in P burial, we try to infer their possible impact on the phosphate inventory in the world oceans. Using a simple mathematical approach, we find that these changes alone could have increased the phosphate inventory of glacial ocean waters by 20–40% compared to interglacial stages. Variations in the C/P reactive ratios and in the P sedimentary phases distribution at the investigated sites seem to indicate 20 that at the onset of interglacial stages, shallower sites experienced an increase in re- active P concentrations. This seems to point to P-richer waters at glacial terminations, supporting the shelf-nutrient hypothesis and giving phosphorus a role as a potential player in climate change. Show more
Journal / seriesBiogeosciences Discussions
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03427 - Frossard, Emmanuel / Frossard, Emmanuel
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Is previous version of: https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000019410
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