Volume 89 Issue 49 | p. 36 | Concentrates
Issue Date: December 5, 2011

Carbon Dioxide Decline Linked To Ancient Glaciation

Analysis of algae-produced organic compounds indicates greenhouse gas’s role in tipping climate change 35 million years ago
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE, Environmental SCENE
Keywords: carbon dioxide, atmosphere, global cooling, Antarctic glaciers

Carbon isotope ratios in algae-produced organic compounds provide evidence that 35 million years ago a dramatic decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels spurred Antarctic glaciation (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1203909). The idea of linking a drop in atmospheric CO2 with glacier growth from the subsequent global cooling has been controversial and difficult to substantiate. Yale University’s Mark Pagani and colleagues extracted alkenones—long-chain unsaturated ethyl and methyl ketones produced by ancient ocean algae—from seafloor sediment . . .

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