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Köhler, Peter; Knorr, Gregor; Bard, Edouard (2014): Simulated change in atmospheric CO2 and D14C around 14.6 kyr BP, at the onset of the northern hemispheric warming into the Bølling/Allerød. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Köhler, P et al. (2014): Permafrost thawing as a possible source of abrupt carbon release at the onset of the Bølling/Allerød. Nature Communications, 5, 5520,

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One of the most abrupt and yet unexplained past rises in atmospheric CO2 (10 p.p.m.v. in two centuries) occurred in quasi-synchrony with abrupt northern hemispheric warming into the Bølling/Allerød, 14,600 years ago. Here we use a U/Th-dated record of atmospheric D14C from Tahiti corals to provide an independent and precise age control for this CO2 rise. We also use model simulations to show that the release of old (nearly 14C-free) carbon can explain these changes in CO2 and D14C. The D14C record provides an independent constraint on the amount of carbon released (125 Pg C). We suggest, in line with observations of atmospheric CH4 and terrigenous biomarkers, that thawing permafrost in high northern latitudes could have been the source of carbon, possibly with contribution from flooding of the Siberian continental shelf during meltwater pulse 1A. Our findings highlight the potential of the permafrost carbon reservoir to modulate abrupt climate changes via greenhouse-gas feedbacks.
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  1. Köhler, P; Knorr, G; Bard, E (2014): Figure 4a: Simulation results for atmospheric D14C.
  2. Köhler, P; Knorr, G; Bard, E (2014): Figure 4b: Simulation results for atmospheric CO2.