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Moderate levels of Eocene pCO2 indicated by Southern Hemisphere fossil plant stomata
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology. Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7893-1142
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology. Department of Geology, Lund University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2987-5559
3Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane Botanic Gardens.
4School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne.
2019 (English)In: Geology, ISSN 0091-7613, E-ISSN 1943-2682, Vol. 47, p. 914-918Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Reducing the uncertainty in predictions of future climate change is one of today’s greatest scientific challenges, with many significant problems unsolved, including the relationship between pCO2 and global temperature. To better constrain these forecasts, it is meaningful to study past time intervals of global warmth, such as the Eocene (56.0–33.9 Ma), serving as climatic analogues for the future. Here we reconstructed pCO2 using the stomatal densities of a large fossil Lauraceae (laurel) leaf database from ten sites across the Eocene of Australia and New Zealand. We show that mostly moderate pCO2 levels of 450–600 ppm prevailed throughout the Eocene, levels that are considerably lower than the pCO2 forcing currently needed to recreate Eocene temperatures in climate models. Our data record significantly lower pCO2 than inferred from marine isotopes, but concur with previously published Northern Hemisphere Eocene stomatal proxy pCO2. We argue that the now globally consistent stomatal proxy pCO2 record for the Eocene is robust and that climate sensitivity was elevated and/or that additional climate forcings operated more powerfully than previously assumed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Boulder, Colorado, 2019. Vol. 47, p. 914-918
Keywords [en]
Atmospheric CO2, hothouse climate, Stomatal index, Australia, New Zealand
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-3422DOI: 10.1130/G46274.1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-3422DiVA, id: diva2:1372946
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2016-04905Swedish Research Council, 2015-4264
Note

Additional funding from the Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University

Available from: 2019-09-01 Created: 2019-11-25Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1130/G46274.1

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