Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide

Imagine loosening the screw-top of a soda bottle and hearing the carbon dioxide begin to escape. Then imagine taking the cap off quickly, and seeing the beverage foam and fizz out of the bottle. Then, imagine the pressure equalizing and the beverage being ready to drink. Rutgers marine scientist Elisabeth Sikes and her colleagues say that something very similar happened on a grand scale over a 1,000 year period after the end of the last ice age – or glaciation, as scientists call it.

According to a paper published recently in the journal Nature, the last ice age featured a decrease in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide and an increase in the atmospheric carbon 14, the isotope that guides scientists in evaluating the rate of decay of everything from shells to trees.

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