07 Mar 2023
 | 07 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Deglacial export of pre-aged terrigenous carbon to the Bay of Biscay

Eduardo Queiroz Alves, Wanyee Wong, Jens Hefter, Hendrik Grotheer, Tommaso Tesi, Torben Gentz, Karin Zonneveld, and Gesine Mollenhauer

Abstract. The last deglaciation is the most recent relatively well-documented period of pronounced and fast climate warming and, as such, it holds important information for our understanding of the climate system. Notably, while research into terrestrial organic carbon reservoirs has been instrumental in exploring the possible sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide during periods of rapid change, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Here we investigate the mobilization of organic matter to the Bay of Biscay at the mouth of the Channel River, where an enhanced terrigenous input has been reported for the last glacial-interglacial transition. A suite of biomarker and isotopic analyses on a high-resolution sedimentary archive provided the first direct evidence for the fluvial supply of immature and ancient terrestrial organic matter to the core location. In the light of what has been reported for other regions with present or past permafrost conditions on land, this result points to the possibility of permafrost carbon export to the ocean, caused by processes that likely furthered the observed changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Eduardo Queiroz Alves et al.

Status: open (until 02 May 2023)

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Eduardo Queiroz Alves et al.

Eduardo Queiroz Alves et al.


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Short summary
Our study reveals a previously unknown peat source for the massive influx of terrestrial organic matter that was exported from the European continent to the ocean during the last deglaciation. Our findings shed light on ancient terrestrial organic carbon mobilization, providing insights that are crucial for refining climate models.