A transient rise in tropical sea surface temperature during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum

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doi: 10.1126/science.1090110
Author(s): Zachos, James C.; Wara, Michael W.; Bohaty, Steven; Delaney, Margaret L.; Petrizzo, Maria Rose; Brill, Amanda; Bralower, Timothy J.; Premoli Silva, Isabella
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of California at Santa Cruz, Earth and Ocean Sciences Departments, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
Universita degli Studi di Milano, Italy
University of North Carolina, United States
Pennsylvania State University, United States
Volume Title: Science
Source: Science, 302(5650), p.1551-1554. Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0036-8075 CODEN: SCIEAS
Note: In English. 44 refs.; illus.
Summary: The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) has been attributed to a rapid rise in greenhouse gas levels. If so, warming should have occurred at all latitudes, although amplified toward the poles. Existing records reveal an increase in high-latitude sea surface temperatures (SSTs) (8° to 10°C) and in bottom water temperatures (4° to 5°C). To date, however, the character of the tropical SST response during this event remains unconstrained. Here we address this deficiency by using paired oxygen isotope and minor element (magnesium/calcium) ratios of planktonic foraminifera from a tropical Pacific core to estimate changes in SST. Using mixed-layer foraminifera, we found that the combined proxies imply a 4° to 5°C rise in Pacific SST during the PETM. These results would necessitate a rise in atmospheric pCO2 to levels three to four times as high as those estimated for the late Paleocene.
Year of Publication: 2003
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; Aliphatic hydrocarbons; Alkanes; Anomalies; Carbon dioxide; Cenozoic; Chemical ratios; Climate change; Cores; Eocene; Foraminifera; Geochemistry; Greenhouse effect; Hydrocarbons; Invertebrata; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Leg 198; Marine sediments; Methane; Microfossils; North Pacific; Northwest Pacific; O-18/O-16; ODP Site 1209; Ocean Drilling Program; Organic compounds; Oxygen; Pacific Ocean; Paleo-oceanography; Paleocene; Paleoclimatology; Paleoenvironment; Paleogene; Paleotemperature; Planktonic taxa; Protista; Salinity; Sea-surface temperature; Sediments; Shatsky Rise; Stable isotopes; Tertiary; West Pacific
Coordinates: N323900 N324000 E1583100 E1583000
Record ID: 2004006675
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