The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum; how much carbon is enough?

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doi: 10.1002/2014PA002650
Author(s): Meissner, K. J.; Bralower, T. J.; Alexander, K.; Dunkley Jones, T.; Sijp, W.; Ward, M.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of New South Wales, Climate Change Research Centre, Kensington, N.S.W., Australia
University of Victoria, Australia
Pennsylvania State University, United States
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Volume Title: Paleoceanography
Source: Paleoceanography, 29(10), p.946-963. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0883-8305 CODEN: POCGEP
Note: In English. NSF Grant EAR-06-28394. 94 refs.; illus., incl. 1 table
Summary: The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), ∼55.53 million years before present, was an abrupt warming event that involved profound changes in the carbon cycle and led to major perturbations of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The PETM was triggered by the release of a massive amount of carbon, and thus, the event provides an analog for future climate and environmental changes given the current anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Previous attempts to constrain the amount of carbon released have produced widely diverging results, between 2000 and 10,000 gigatons carbon (GtC). Here we use the UVic Earth System Climate Model in conjunction with a recently published compilation of PETM temperatures to constrain the initial atmospheric CO2 concentration as well as the total mass of carbon released during the event. Thirty-six simulations were initialized with varying ocean alkalinity, river runoff, and ocean sediment cover. Simulating various combinations of pre-PETM CO2 levels (840, 1680, and 2520 ppm) and total carbon releases (3000, 4500, 7000, and 10,000 GtC), we find that both the 840 ppm plus 7000 GtC and 1680 ppm plus 7000-10,000 GtC scenarios agree best with temperature reconstructions. Bottom waters outside the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans remain well oxygenated in all of our simulations. While the recovery time and rates are highly dependent on ocean alkalinity and sediment cover, the maximum temperature anomaly, used here to constrain the amount of carbon released, is less dependent on this slow-acting feedback. Abstract Copyright (2014), . American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Year of Publication: 2014
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
IPOD International Phase of Ocean Drilling
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; Anaerobic environment; Arctic Coring EXpedition; Arctic Ocean; Atlantic Coastal Plain; Atlantic Ocean; Carbon dioxide; Cenozoic; DSDP Site 527; Deep Sea Drilling Project; East Pacific; Expedition 302; Global; IPOD; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; Leg 113; Leg 143; Leg 174AX; Leg 189; Leg 198; Leg 74; Lomonosov Ridge; Marine environment; Maud Rise; Mid-Pacific Mountains; North Pacific; Northeast Pacific; Northwest Pacific; Numerical models; ODP Site 1172; ODP Site 1209; ODP Site 690; ODP Site 865; Ocean Drilling Program; Pacific Ocean; Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum; Paleoclimatology; Paleoenvironment; Paleogene; Paleotemperature; Sea-surface temperature; Shatsky Rise; South Atlantic; South Pacific; Southern Ocean; Southwest Pacific; Tasman Sea; Tertiary; UVic Earth System Climate Model; Uncertainty; United States; Walvis Ridge; Weddell Sea; West Pacific
Coordinates: S280230 S280229 E0014549 E0014547
S650938 S650937 E0011218 E0011218
N182624 N182626 W1793320 W1793321
S435800 S435700 E1495600 E1495500
Record ID: 2015004444
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, United Kingdom