On the origin and timing of rapid changes in atmospheric methane during the Last Glacial Period Public Deposited

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  • We present high resolution records of atmospheric methane from the GISP2 (Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2) ice core for four rapid climate transitions that occurred during the past 50 ka: the end of the Younger Dryas at 11.8 ka, the beginning of the Bølling-Allerød period at 14.8 ka, the beginning of interstadial 8 at 38.2 ka, and the beginning of interstadial 12 at 45.5 ka. During these events, atmospheric methane concentrations increased by 200–300 ppb over time periods of 100–300 years, significantly more slowly than associated temperature and snow accumulation changes recorded in the ice core record. We suggest that the slower rise in methane concentration may reflect the timescale of terrestrial ecosystem response to rapid climate change. We find no evidence for rapid, massive methane emissions that might be associated with large-scale decomposition of methane hydrates in sediments. With additional results from the Taylor Dome Ice Core (Antarctica) we also reconstruct changes in the interpolar methane gradient (an indicator of the geographical distribution of methane sources) associated with some of the rapid changes in atmospheric methane. The results indicate that the rise in methane at the beginning of the Bølling-Allerød period and the later rise at the end of the Younger Dryas were driven by increases in both tropical and boreal methane sources. During the Younger Dryas (a 1.3 ka cold period during the last deglaciation) the relative contribution from boreal sources was reduced relative to the early and middle Holocene periods.
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  • Brook, E. J., S. Harder, J. Severinghaus, E. J. Steig, and C. M. Sucher (2000), On the origin and timing of rapid changes in atmospheric methane during the Last Glacial Period, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 14(2), 559–572, doi:10.1029/1999GB001182.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deanne Bruner (deanne.bruner@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-02-03T00:48:26Z No. of bitstreams: 1 BrookEdwardCEOASOnOriginTiming.pdf: 1362158 bytes, checksum: 1267fde2a694410d13d534786f76e000 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2012-02-03T00:48:26Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 BrookEdwardCEOASOnOriginTiming.pdf: 1362158 bytes, checksum: 1267fde2a694410d13d534786f76e000 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2000

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