Transient middle Eocene atmospheric CO2 and temperature variations

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doi: 10.1126/science.1193654
Author(s): Bijl, Peter K.; Houben, Alexander J. P.; Schouten, Stefan; Bohaty, Steven M.; Sluijs, Appy; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Brinkhuis, Henk
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Utrecht University, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Utrecht, Netherlands
Other:
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research, Netherlands
University of Southampton, United Kingdom
Volume Title: Science
Source: Science, 330(6005), p.819-821. Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0036-8075 CODEN: SCIEAS
Note: In English. 29 refs.; illus.
Summary: The long-term warmth of the Eocene (∼56 to 34 million years ago) is commonly associated with elevated partial pressure of atmospheric carbon dioxide (pCO2). However, a direct relationship between the two has not been established for short-term climate perturbations. We reconstructed changes in both pCO2 and temperature over an episode of transient global warming called the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO; ∼40 million years ago). Organic molecular paleothermometry indicates a warming of southwest Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) by 3° to 6°C. Reconstructions of pCO2 indicate a concomitant increase by a factor of 2 to 3. The marked consistency between SST and pCO2 trends during the MECO suggests that elevated pCO2 played a major role in global warming during the MECO.
Year of Publication: 2010
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; Biostratigraphy; Carbon dioxide; Cenozoic; Dinoflagellata; Eocene; Global change; Global warming; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Leg 189; Microfossils; Middle Eocene; Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum; O-18/O-16; ODP Site 1172; Ocean Drilling Program; Oxygen; Pacific Ocean; Paleoatmosphere; Paleoclimatology; Paleogene; Paleotemperature; Palynomorphs; Reconstruction; Sea-surface temperature; South Pacific; Southwest Pacific; Stable isotopes; Tasman Sea; Tertiary; Variations; West Pacific
Coordinates: S435800 S435700 E1495600 E1495500
Record ID: 2011008029
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