Simulating the biogeochemical effects of volcanic CO2 degassing on the oxygen-state of the deep ocean during the Cenomanian/Turonian Anoxic Event (OAE2).

Flögel, Sascha, Wallmann, Klaus , Poulsen, K., Zhou, J., Oschlies, Andreas , Voigt, Silke and Kuhnt, Wolfgang (2011) Simulating the biogeochemical effects of volcanic CO2 degassing on the oxygen-state of the deep ocean during the Cenomanian/Turonian Anoxic Event (OAE2). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 305 (3/4). pp. 371-384. DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.03.018.

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Cretaceous anoxic events may have been triggered by massive volcanic CO2 degassing as large igneous provinces (LIPs) were emplaced on the seafloor. Here, we present a comprehensive modeling study to decipher the marine biogeochemical consequences of enhanced volcanic CO2 emissions. A biogeochemical box model has been developed for transient model runs with time-dependent volcanic CO2 forcing. The box model considers continental weathering processes, marine export production, degradation processes in the water column, the rain of particles to the seafloor, benthic fluxes of dissolved species across the seabed, and burial of particulates in marine sediments. The ocean is represented by twenty-seven boxes. To estimate horizontal and vertical fluxes between boxes, a coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation model (AOGCM) is run to derive the circulation patterns of the global ocean under Late Cretaceous boundary conditions. The AOGCM modeling predicts a strong thermohaline circulation and intense ventilation in the Late Cretaceous oceans under high pCO2 values. With an appropriate choice of parameter values such as the continental input of phosphorus, the model produces ocean anoxia at low to mid latitudes and changes in marine δ13C that are consistent with geological data such as the well established δ13C curve. The spread of anoxia is supported by an increase in riverine phosphorus fluxes under high pCO2 and a decrease in phosphorus burial efficiency in marine sediments under low oxygen conditions in ambient bottom waters. Here, we suggest that an additional mechanism might contribute to anoxia, an increase in the C:P ratio of marine plankton which is induced by high pCO2 values. According to our AOGCM model results, an intensively ventilated Cretaceous ocean turns anoxic only if the C:P ratio of marine organic particles exported into the deep ocean is allowed to increase under high pCO2 conditions. Being aware of the uncertainties such as diagenesis, this modeling study implies that potential changes in Redfield ratios might be a strong feedback mechanism to attain ocean anoxia via enhanced CO2 emissions. The formation of C-enriched marine organic matter may also explain the frequent occurrence of global anoxia during other geological periods characterized by high pCO2 values.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754 > A7
OceanRep > SFB 754
Kiel University
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: SFB754, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2011 12:52
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 05:28

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