The Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum super greenhouse: biotic and geochemical signatures, age models and mechanisms of global change
A. Sluijs, G. J. Bowen, H. Brinkhuis, L. J. Lourens, E. Thomas, 2007. "The Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum super greenhouse: biotic and geochemical signatures, age models and mechanisms of global change", Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies, M. Williams, A. M. Haywood, F. J. Gregory, D. N. Schmidt
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The Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically brief episode of global warming associated with the Palaeocene–Eocene boundary, has been studied extensively since its discovery in 1991. The PETM is characterized by a globally quasi-uniform 5–8 °C warming and large changes in ocean chemistry and biotic response. The warming is associated with a negative carbon isotope excursion (CIE), reflecting geologically rapid input of large amounts of isotopically light CO2 and/or CH4 into the exogenic (ocean–atmosphere) carbon pool. The biotic response on land and in the oceans was heterogeneous in nature and severity, including radiations, extinctions and migrations. Recently, several events that appear similar to the PETM in nature, but of smaller magnitude, were identified to have occurred in the late Palaeocene through early Eocene, with their timing possibly modulated by orbital forcing. Although debate continues on the carbon source, the mechanisms that caused the input, the mechanisms of carbon sequestration, and the duration and pacing of the event, the research carried out over the last 15 years has provided new constraints and spawned new research directions that will lead to improved understanding of PETM carbon cycle and climate change.
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Deep-Time Perspectives on Climate Change: Marrying the Signal from Computer Models and Biological Proxies
This book unites climate modelling, palaeoceanography and palaeontology to address fundamental events in the climate history of Earth over the past 600 million years. Understanding the ‘tipping points’ that have led to rapid changes in the Earth's climate is vitally important with the realization that humans modify global climate. In an effort to better understand past and future climate change, general circulation models have become the forerunners of attempts to simulate future climate. Although extraordinarily sophisticated, they remain imperfect tools that require ‘grounding’ in geological data. In this, the study of past major climate transitions like the Palaeozoic icehouse worlds and the extreme greenhouse of the Cretaceous are invaluable. Both the mechanisms that forced changes in the Earth's climate as well as the proxies that track these changes are discussed. The central message of the book is that general circulation models tested with geological data in an iterative ‘ground truth’ process provide the best estimates of the Earth's ancient climate.