AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on CO2 records from ice cores

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on February 2, 2010

This is a list of papers on the past CO2 records measured from the ice cores. Specifically this list contains papers that present new or improved carbon dioxide records from ice cores. The list is based to the Ice Core Data Sets at NOAA. The subject for this list was suggested by Magnus W here. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.

UPDATE, March 14, 2011: Siegenthaler & Oeschger (1987) added.
UPDATE, October 13, 2010: Neftel et al. (1982) added.

High-resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000–800,000 years before present – Lüthi et al. (2008) “So far, the Antarctic Vostok and EPICA Dome C ice cores have provided a composite record of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past 650,000 years. Here we present results of the lowest 200 m of the Dome C ice core, extending the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration by two complete glacial cycles to 800,000 yr before present.” [Data]

Atmospheric CO2 and Climate on Millennial Time Scales During the Last Glacial Period – Ahn & Brook (2008) “We compared CO2 variations on millennial time scales between 20,000 and 90,000 years ago with an Antarctic temperature proxy and records of abrupt climate change in the Northern Hemisphere. CO2 concentration and Antarctic temperature were positively correlated over millennial-scale climate cycles, implying a strong connection to Southern Ocean processes.” [Full text] [Data]

Northern Hemisphere forcing of climatic cycles in Antarctica over the past 360,000 years – Kawamura et al. (2007) “Here we present a new chronology of Antarctic climate change over the past 360,000 years that is based on the ratio of oxygen to nitrogen molecules in air trapped in the Dome Fuji and Vostok ice cores. … Our results indicate that orbital-scale Antarctic climate change lags Northern Hemisphere insolation by a few millennia, and that the increases in Antarctic temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration during the last four terminations occurred within the rising phase of Northern Hemisphere summer insolation.” [Supplement] [Data]
Data description: “CO2 record from the Dome Fuji ice core (Antarctica) covering the last 260 kyr with relatively low resolution.”

Stable Carbon Cycle–Climate Relationship During the Late Pleistocene – Siegenthaler et al. (2005) “A record of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations measured on the EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) Dome Concordia ice core extends the Vostok CO2 record back to 650,000 years before the present (yr B.P.). Before 430,000 yr B.P., partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 lies within the range of 260 and 180 parts per million by volume. This range is almost 30% smaller than that of the last four glacial cycles; however, the apparent sensitivity between deuterium and CO2 remains stable throughout the six glacial cycles, suggesting that the relationship between CO2 and Antarctic climate remained rather constant over this interval.” [Full text] [Data]

Supporting evidence from the EPICA Dronning Maud Land ice core for atmospheric CO2 changes during the past millennium – Siegenthaler et al. (2005) “Here we present a new detailed CO2 record from the Dronning Maud Land (DML) ice core, drilled in the framework of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) and some new measurements on a previously drilled ice core from the South Pole. The DML CO2 record shows an increase from about 278 to 282 parts per million by volume (ppmv) between ad 1000 and ad 1200 and a fairly continuous decrease to a mean value of about 277 ppmv around ad 1700.” [Full text] [Data]

Evidence for substantial accumulation rate variability in Antarctica during the Holocene, through synchronization of CO2 in the Taylor Dome, Dome C and DML ice cores – Monnin et al. (2004) “High resolution records of atmospheric CO2 concentration during the Holocene are obtained from the Dome Concordia and Dronning Maud Land (Antarctica) ice cores. These records confirm that the CO2 concentration varied between 260 and 280 ppmv in the Holocene as measured in the Taylor Dome ice core. However, there are differences in the CO2 records most likely caused by mismatches in timescales. Matching the Taylor Dome timescale to the Dome C timescale by synchronization of CO2 indicates that the accumulation rate at Taylor Dome increased through the Holocene by a factor two and bears little resemblance to the stable isotope record used as a proxy for temperature. This result shows that different locations experienced substantially different accumulation changes, and casts doubt on the often-used assumption that accumulation rate scales with the saturation vapor pressure as a function of temperature, at least for coastal locations.” [Full text] [Data]

High-resolution Holocene N2O ice core record and its relationship with CH4 and CO2 – Flückiger et al. (2002) “Here we fill this gap with a high-resolution N2O record measured along the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) Dome C Antarctic ice core. On the same ice we obtained high-resolution methane and carbon dioxide records. This provides the unique opportunity to compare variations of the three most important greenhouse gases (after water vapor) without any uncertainty in their relative timing. The CO2 and CH4 records are in good agreement with previous measurements on other ice cores.” [Full text] [Data]

Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination – Monnin et al. (2001) “A record of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene, obtained from the Dome Concordia, Antarctica, ice core, reveals that an increase of 76 parts per million by volume occurred over a period of 6000 years in four clearly distinguishable intervals. The close correlation between CO2 concentration and Antarctic temperature indicates that the Southern Ocean played an important role in causing the CO2 increase. However, the similarity of changes in CO2 concentration and variations of atmospheric methane concentration suggests that processes in the tropics and in the Northern Hemisphere, where the main sources for methane are located, also had substantial effects on atmospheric CO2 concentrations.” [Data]

Atmospheric CO2 concentration from 60 to 20 kyr BP from the Taylor Dome Ice Core, Antarctica – Indermühle et al. (2000) “A high‐resolution record of the atmospheric CO2 concentration from 60 to 20 thousand years before present (kyr BP) based on measurements on the ice core of Taylor Dome, Antarctica is presented. This record shows four distinct peaks of 20 parts per million by volume (ppmv) on a millennial time scale. Good correlation of the CO2 record with temperature reconstructions based on stable isotope measurements on the Vostok ice core (Antarctica) is found.” [Full text] [Data]

Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica – Petit et al. (1999) “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane correlate well with Antarctic air-temperature throughout the record. Present-day atmospheric burdens of these two important greenhouse gases seem to have been unprecedented during the past 420,000 years.” [Full text] [Data]
Data description: “They include the deuterium content of the ice (δDice, a proxy of local temperature change), the dust content (desert aerosols), the concentration of sodium (marine aerosol), and from the entrapped air the greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4, and the δ18O of O2 (hereafter δ18Oatm) which reflects changes in global ice volume and in the hydrological cycle.”

Ice Core Records of Atmospheric CO2 Around the Last Three Glacial Terminations – Fischer et al. (1999) “High-resolution records from Antarctic ice cores show that carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 80 to 100 parts per million by volume 600 ± 400 years after the warming of the last three deglaciations. Despite strongly decreasing temperatures, high carbon dioxide concentrations can be sustained for thousands of years during glaciations; the size of this phase lag is probably connected to the duration of the preceding warm period, which controls the change in land ice coverage and the buildup of the terrestrial biosphere.” [Full text] [Data]

Dual modes of the carbon cycle since the Last Glacial Maximum – Smith et al. (1999) “We have measured the CO2 concentration and δ13CO2 of air trapped in ice from Taylor Dome, Antarctica, across the last glacial termination in order to develop a time series for the carbonisotope composition of atmospheric CO2 and to constrain the mechanisms of carbon cycling between the main sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2. The atmospheric CO2 concentration data (Fig. 1) form a record comparable to that from Byrd and Vostok.” [Full text] [Data]

Holocene carbon-cycle dynamics based on CO2 trapped in ice at Taylor Dome, Antarctica – Indermühle et al. (1999) “A high-resolution ice-core record of atmospheric CO2 concentration over the Holocene epoch shows that the global carbon cycle has not been in steady state during the past 11,000 years. Analysis of the CO2 concentration and carbon stable-isotope records, using a one-dimensional carbon-cycle model,uggests that changes in terrestrial biomass and sea surface temperature were largely responsible for the observed millennial-scale changes of atmospheric CO2 concentrations.” [Full text] [Data]

Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn – Etheridge et al. (1996) “A record of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios from 1006 A.D. to 1978 A.D. has been produced by analysing the air enclosed in three ice cores from Law Dome, Antarctica. The enclosed air has unparalleled age resolution and extends into recent decades, because of the high rate of snow accumulation at the ice core sites. The CO2 data overlap with the record from direct atmospheric measurements for up to 20 years.” [Data]

CO2 measurements from polar ice cores: more data from different sites – Staffelbach et al. (1991) “In this paper, we will discuss possible small deviations of the CO2 concentration in air bubbles from that of the atmosphere at the time of enclosure. To do this, new results from Crête (Central Greenland) ice cores, covering the period since the beginning of industrialisation are presented, showing a good agreement with the data from Antarctic ice cores. In addition, the record of the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the transition from the last glaciation to the Holocene and the fast variations in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 during parts of the last glaciation, as suggested by Greenland ice core data, will be discussed.”

CO2 record in the Byrd ice core 50,000–5,000 years bp – Neftel et al. (1988) “To achieve this, we have studied a great number of samples from the deep ice core from Byrd station, Westantarctica, drilled in 1968. These measurements allow us to reconstruct the atmospheric CO2 concentration in the time period 50,000–15,000 yr bp in great detail.” [Full text] [Data]

Vostok ice core provides 160,000-year record of atmospheric CO2 – Barnola et al. (1987) “Direct evidence of past atmospheric CO2 changes has been extended to the past 160,000 years from the Vostok ice core. These changes are most notably an inherent phenomenon of change between glacial and interglacial periods. Besides this major 100,000-year cycle, the CO2 record seems to exhibit a cyclic change with a period of some 21,000 years.” [Data]

Biospheric CO2 emissions during the past 200 years reconstructed by deconvolution of ice core data – Siegenthaler & Oeschger (1987) “Measurements on air trapped in old polar ice have revealed that the pre-industrial atmosphere contained 280 ppm of CO2 and that δ13C of atmospheric CO2 decreased by about 1.1 %, until 1980. These measurements show that considerable amounts of non-fossil CO2 must have already been emitted into the atmosphere in the 19th century. Quantitative estimates of the emission rates were performed by deconvolving the CO2 and δ13C records, using models of the global carbon cycle (box-diffusion and outcrop-diffusion ocean, four-box biosphere). Depending on the structure of the ocean submodel, deconvolution of the CO2 record yields a cumulative non-fossil production of about 90 to 150 Gt C until 1980, of which more than 50% were released prior to 1900. According to the model results, the net non-fossil production rate was roughly constant in the 19th and the first part of the 20th century. In the past 30 years, smaller values are obtained (0-0.9 Gt C yr−1) which are at the lower limit or below current ecological estimates for deforestation and land use (1.6 ± 0.8 Gt C yr−1). The difference might possibly be due to other sinks, e.g., stimulation of plant productivity by the enhanced CO2 concentration. Calculated 13C and 14C time histories agree well with the observed changes. While the change of the atmospheric CO2 concentration reflects more the cumulative carbon release, the isotope concentrations are more sensitive to short-term changes of the emission rate. The reason is that the oceanic uptake capacity is smaller for excess CO2 by the buffer factor of ˜ 10 than for an isotopic perturbation.” U. Siegenthaler, H. Oeschger, Tellus B, Volume 39B, Issue 1-2, pages 140–154, February-April 1987, DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.1987.tb00278.x.

Evidence from polar ice cores for the increase in atmospheric CO2 in the past two centuries – Neftel et al. (1985) “An ice core from Siple Station (West Antartica) that allows determination of the enclosed gas concentration with very good time resolution has recently become available. We report here measurements of this core which now allow us to trace the development of the atmospheric CO2 from a period overlapping the Mauna Loa record back over the past two centuries.”

Ice core sample measurements give atmospheric CO2 content during the past 40,000 yr – Neftel et al. (1982) “Recent measurements on ice samples from Camp Century (Greenland, 77°10’N, 61°08’W), Byrd Station (Antarctica, 80°01’S, 110°31’W) and Dome C (74°40’S, 125°10’E) suggest that during the late part of the last glaciation the atmospheric CO2 concentration was significantly lower than during the Holocene. Further investigation of this natural increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration in the past should aid our understanding of the climatic implications of the man-made CO2 increase since the beginning of industrialization3. Here we report new and precise measurements of the CO2 concentration of the air occluded in bubbles of ice samples from Camp Century and Byrd Station, using a new dry extraction technique. The extracted gases were analysed with an IR-laser spectrometer (IRLS). Samples from 22 different depths were analysed from each core. The samples are distributed over a depth interval corresponding approximately to the past 40,000 yr. In addition results for ice samples from selected depth horizons from a colder region (North Central, Greenland 74°37’N, 39°36’W) and from a warmer region (Dye-3, Greenland 65°11’N, 43°50’W) are given. Based on these results we estimate the trend of the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the past 40,000 yr.” [Full text]


7 Responses to “Papers on CO2 records from ice cores”

  1. barry said

    Just got linked to this site. What a fantastic resource.

    Having had a quick skim through, I was wonder if you’d consider a couple of things – it means more work, but if you were up to it (and I think you should ask for help from interested parties)….

    1) Rather than gathering only papers that buttress the AGW case, gather also any that question it (even if only potentially).

    2) Include the cite count for each paper, which indicates how useful/valid the paper is.

    Doing this may head off some so-called skeptic putting together their own database of papers strictly devoted to undermining AGW. Then its a war of links. I’d be up for helping out (when I have spare time down the road).

    Then, whenever I’m faced with a ‘skeptic’ brandishing a study and touting it as “the truth, finally” a link directed to the topic here could give some perspective, on the breadth of inquiry and the preponderence of understanding.

    In any event, I really appreciate this site. Good on you.

  2. J Bowers said

    This may be of interest:

    “Covariation of carbon dioxide and temperature from the Vostok ice core after deuterium-excess correction”
    Kurt M. Cuffey & Françoise Vimeux (2001)
    Letters to Nature
    Nature 412, 523-527 (2 August 2001) | doi:10.1038/35087544; Received 7 February 2001; Accepted 19 June 2001

  3. J Bowers said

    And perhaps this:
    “The 100,000-Year Ice-Age Cycle Identified and Found to Lag Temperature, Carbon Dioxide, and Orbital Eccentricity”
    Nicholas J. Shackleton
    Science 15 September 2000: Vol. 289. no. 5486, pp. 1897 – 1902
    DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5486.1897;289/5486/1897

  4. Ari Jokimäki said

    Barry said:
    1) Rather than gathering only papers that buttress the AGW case, gather also any that question it (even if only potentially).

    Well, actually most of my lists already contain the ones that “question it”. The thing is that the ones questioning it are usually doing it in so detailed, minor level that it is not necessarily obvious at first look. The ones that are questioning the whole issue are very rare, produced only by a handful of people. Now, the lists I’m creating are at least for now just a scratch of the surface and I’m trying to offer key papers in my brief lists. The questoning papers, presenting usually only a very minor fraction of total papers on the subject in question, are not very probable to find their way to the lists (however, some subjects have quite a lot of them, such as albedo or cloud related lists). If I would go specifically after some very critical papers just because I want to include some to my list, would result in unbalanced lists, i.e. the questioning view would be overpresented. Furthermore, the subjects here are strongly focused on the observational side of things. The questioning view is not very strong on the observational side, but the focus there is usually on all kinds of wild hypotheses.

    I have couple of lists that are about those hypotheses and are unbalanced to the against-the-hypothesis side. Those lists are the lists of cosmic ray and solar role in climate. Those lists present only the papers presenting the evidence against those hypotheses, because for any hypothesis you can always find some supporting evidence, but it is enough if you find even one piece of evidence that goes against the hypothesis. I’m more interested in finding evidence that goes against a hypothesis. That kind of evidence is much more relevant than supporting evidence.

    However, I have plans to make the lists much more thorough than they are now and then also the number of critical papers will increase. At that point I might also include the questioning papers to the above mentioned two lists.

    Barry said:
    2) Include the cite count for each paper, which indicates how useful/valid the paper is.

    That would be nice, but would call for too much maintenance in the future. Cite counts are only of limited use anyway, at least in my opinion. You can make a paper filled with errors (Lindzen & Choi, 2009) or filled with wild claims (Svensmark et al.) and get cited much simply because people are debunking you so much. On the other hand, you might get important papers going largely unnoticed.

    Barry said:
    In any event, I really appreciate this site. Good on you.

    Thank you very much. 🙂

  5. Ari Jokimäki said

    J Bowers, thank you for the suggestions. This list is for the papers that present new or improved carbon dioxide records (I added the mention of that to the introduction text above).

    The Cuffey & Vimeaux paper I already have in this list:

    The Shackleton paper is in this list:

    It’s kind of difficult with these lists as many times the subjects overlap so it’s hard to say which paper should go to what list. I’m also going to do a list on carbon dioxide temperature correlation and I think these two papers you suggested would fit in there as well. I have also though that maybe I should have a master list of all the papers somewhere where one could check which papers are on which lists, perhaps some day…

  6. Ari Jokimäki said

    I added Neftel et al. (1982).

  7. Ari Jokimäki said

    I added Siegenthaler & Oeschger (1987).

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