Modelled interglacial carbon cycle dynamics during the Holocene, the Eemian and Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11
Abstract. Trends in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 during three recent interglacials – the Holocene, the Eemian and Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11 – are investigated using an earth system model of intermediate complexity, which we extended with process-based modules to consider two slow carbon cycle processes – peat accumulation and shallow-water CaCO3 sedimentation (coral reef formation). For all three interglacials, model simulations considering peat accumulation and shallow-water CaCO3 sedimentation substantially improve the agreement between model results and ice core CO2 reconstructions in comparison to a carbon cycle set-up neglecting these processes. This enables us to model the trends in atmospheric CO2, with modelled trends similar to the ice core data, forcing the model only with orbital and sea level changes. During the Holocene, anthropogenic CO2 emissions are required to match the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 after 3 ka BP but are not relevant before this time. Our model experiments show a considerable improvement in the modelled CO2 trends by the inclusion of the slow carbon cycle processes, allowing us to explain the CO2 evolution during the Holocene and two recent interglacials consistently using an identical model set-up.