Glacial-interglacial variability in ocean oxygen and phosphorus in a global biogeochemical model
- 1Department of Earth Sciences-Geochemistry, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4, Utrecht, 3584 CD, The Netherlands
- 2University of Bergen, Geophysical Institute and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Allégaten 70, 5007 Bergen, Norway
Abstract. Increased transfer of particulate matter from continental shelves to the open ocean during glacials may have had a major impact on the biogeochemistry of the ocean. Here, we assess the response of the coupled oceanic cycles of oxygen, carbon, phosphorus, and iron to the input of particulate organic carbon and reactive phosphorus from shelves. We use a biogeochemical ocean model and specifically focus on the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). When compared to an interglacial reference run, our glacial scenario with shelf input shows major increases in ocean productivity and phosphorus burial, while mean deep-water oxygen concentrations decline. There is a downward expansion of the oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, while the extension of the OMZ in the Pacific is slightly reduced. Oxygen concentrations below 2000 m also decline but bottom waters do not become anoxic. The model simulations show when shelf input of particulate organic matter and particulate reactive P is considered, low oxygen areas in the glacial ocean expand, but concentrations are not low enough to generate wide scale changes in sediment biogeochemistry and sedimentary phosphorus recycling. Increased reactive phosphorus burial in the open ocean during the LGM in the model is related to dust input, notably over the southwest Atlantic and northwest Pacific, whereas input of material from shelves explains higher burial fluxes in continental slope and rise regions. Our model results are in qualitative agreement with available data and reproduce the strong spatial differences in the response of phosphorus burial to glacial-interglacial change. Our model results also highlight the need for additional sediment core records from all ocean basins to allow further insight into changes in phosphorus, carbon and oxygen dynamics in the ocean on glacial-interglacial timescales.