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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Sep 17;99(19):12011-4. Epub 2002 Aug 29.

Rapid atmospheric CO2 changes associated with the 8,200-years-B.P. cooling event.

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  • 1Department of Botanical Palaeoecology, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4, 3584 CD, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


By applying the inverse relation between numbers of leaf stomata and atmospheric CO2 concentration, stomatal frequency analysis of fossil birch leaves from lake deposits in Denmark reveals a century-scale CO2 change during the prominent Holocene cooling event that occurred in the North Atlantic region between 8,400 and 8,100 years B.P. In contrast to conventional CO2 reconstructions based on ice cores from Antarctica, quantification of the stomatal frequency signal corroborates a distinctive temperature-CO2 correlation. Results indicate a global CO2 decline of approximately 25 ppm by volume over approximately 300 years. This reduction is in harmony with observed and modeled lowering of North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures associated with a short-term weakening of thermohaline circulation.

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