The silica pulses corresponded exactly with the end of each ice age. At that time, there were lots of nutrients in the ocean water there, because small organisms called diatoms, which have silica shells, were able to thrive. When they died, their shells sank to the bottom of the ocean, making the layers Meckler saw in the core.
The nutrients, which also come up from the deep ocean, were able to be there, available to the diatoms, because the north-south circulation shutdown failed to carry them away, and that same shutdown also forced the deep ocean to give up its carbon, Meckler said.
Rutgers' Sikes noted that there will need to be more work in this area but said this paper is important because amid all the focus on wind as a primary cause driving the Southern Ocean CO2 release, this paper has "put the ocean back in control."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500