Carbon storage on exposed continental shelves during the glacial-interglacial transition

We present analyses of new and previously published estimates of total (vegetation plus soil) carbon storage on exposed continental shelves during the LGM. Carbon stock estimates from environmental reconstructions vary from 113 to 202 Pg C. Estimates from vegetation models range from 112 to 323 Pg C. After standardization of exposed shelf area by a topographic model the range of best estimates for reconstructions and models converge to 182–266 Pg C. Up to ∼10000 years before present, the time dependent estimate of the amount of inundated carbon is in good qualitative agreement with the increase in the atmospheric carbon reservoir. Given its relative size compared to the change in terrestrial carbon storage and the potential link between inundated carbon and atmospheric CO2 increase, the carbon stock of the LGM exposed shelves cannot be ignored and merits more detailed attention from modelling and reconstruction efforts.

Published in:
Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L08703

 Record created 2008-02-22, last modified 2018-03-18

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