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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The Early Eocene Climate Optimum (EECO, which occurred about 51 to 53 million years ago)1, was the warmest interval of the past 65 million years, with mean annual surface air temperature over ten degrees Celsius warmer than during the pre-industrial period2,3,4. Subsequent global cooling in the middle and late Eocene epoch, especially at high latitudes, eventually led to continental ice sheet development in Antarctica in the early Oligocene epoch (about 33.6 million years ago). However, existing estimates place atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels during the Eocene at 500–3,000 parts per million5,6,7, and in the absence of tighter constraints carbon–climate interactions over this interval remain uncertain. Here we use recent analytical and methodological developments8,9,10,11 to generate a new high-fidelity record of CO2 concentrations using the boron isotope (δ11B) composition of well preserved planktonic foraminifera from the Tanzania Drilling Project, revising previous estimates6. Although species-level uncertainties make absolute values difficult to constrain, CO2 concentrations during the EECO were around 1,400 parts per million. The relative decline in CO2 concentration through the Eocene is more robustly constrained at about fifty per cent, with a further decline into the Oligocene12. Provided the latitudinal dependency of sea surface temperature change for a given climate forcing in the Eocene was similar to that of the late Quaternary period13, this CO2 decline was sufficient to drive the well documented high- and low-latitude cooling that occurred through the Eocene14. Once the change in global temperature between the pre-industrial period and the Eocene caused by the action of all known slow feedbacks (apart from those associated with the carbon cycle) is removed2,3,4, both the EECO and the late Eocene exhibit an equilibrium climate sensitivity relative to the pre-industrial period of 2.1 to 4.6 degrees Celsius per CO2 doubling (66 per cent confidence), which is similar to the canonical range (1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius15), indicating that a large fraction of the warmth of the early Eocene greenhouse was driven by increased CO2 concentrations, and that climate sensitivity was relatively constant throughout this period.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Past warm periods provide an opportunity to evaluate climate models under extreme forcing scenarios, in particular high ( 〉  800 ppmv) atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Although a post hoc intercomparison of Eocene ( ∼  50  Ma) climate model simulations and geological data has been carried out previously, models of past high-CO2 periods have never been evaluated in a consistent framework. Here, we present an experimental design for climate model simulations of three warm periods within the early Eocene and the latest Paleocene (the EECO, PETM, and pre-PETM). Together with the CMIP6 pre-industrial control and abrupt 4 ×  CO2 simulations, and additional sensitivity studies, these form the first phase of DeepMIP – the Deep-time Model Intercomparison Project, itself a group within the wider Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP). The experimental design specifies and provides guidance on boundary conditions associated with palaeogeography, greenhouse gases, astronomical configuration, solar constant, land surface processes, and aerosols. Initial conditions, simulation length, and output variables are also specified. Finally, we explain how the geological data sets, which will be used to evaluate the simulations, will be developed.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-05-07
    Description: Sphagnum moss is the dominant plant type inmodern boreal and (sub)arctic ombrotrophic bogs and is of particular interest due to its sensitivity to climate and its important role in wetland biogeochemistry. Here we reconstruct the occurrence of Sphagnum moss – and associated biogeochemical change – within a thermally immature, early Paleogene (~55 Ma) lignite from Schöningen, NW Germany using a high-resolution, multi-proxy approach. Changes in the abundance of Sphagnum-type spores and the C23/C31 n-alkane ratio indicate the expansion of Sphagnum moss within the top of the lignite seam. This Sphagnum moss expansion is associated with the development of waterlogged conditions, analogous to what has been observed within modern ombrotrophic bogs. The similarity between biomarkers and palynology also indicates that the C23/C31 n-alkane ratio may be a reliable chemotaxonomic indicator for Sphagnum during the early Paleogene. The δ13C value of bacterial hopanes and mid-chain n-alkanes indicates that a rise in water table is not associated with a substantial increase in aerobic methanotrophy. The absence of very low δ13C values within the top of the seam could reflect either less methanogenesis or less efficient methane oxidation under waterlogged sulphate-rich conditions.
    Keywords: Paleocene; Eocene; bryophyte; Sphagnum bog
    Language: English
    Type: article , publishedVersion
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: The early Eocene (56 to 48 million years ago) is inferred to have been the most recent time that Earth's atmospheric CO2 concentrations exceeded 1000 ppm. Global mean temperatures were also substantially warmer than present day. As such, study of early Eocene climate provides insight into how a super-warm Earth system behaves and offers an opportunity to 10 evaluate climate models under conditions of high greenhouse gas forcing. The Deep Time Model Intercomparison Project (DeepMIP) is a systematic model-model and model-data intercomparison of three early Paleogene time slices: latest Paleocene, Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum and early Eocene climatic optimum. A previous article outlined the model experimental design for climate model simulations. In this article, we outline the methodologies to be used for the compilation and analysis of climate proxy data, primarily proxies for temperature and CO2. This paper establishes the protocols for a concerted and 15 coordinated effort to compile the climate proxy records across a wide geographic range. The resulting climate "atlas" will be used to constrain and evaluate climate models for the three selected time intervals, and provide insights into the mechanisms that control these warm climate states. We provide version 0.1 of this database, in anticipation that this will be expanded in subsequent publications.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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