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How wet was the Arctic Eocene rain forest? Estimates of precipitation from Paleogene Arctic macrofloras

David R. Greenwood, James F. Basinger and Robin Y. Smith
How wet was the Arctic Eocene rain forest? Estimates of precipitation from Paleogene Arctic macrofloras
Geology (Boulder) (January 2010) 38 (1): 15-18

Abstract

The Eocene was the warmest part of the Cenozoic, when warm climates extended into the Arctic, and substantive paleobotanical evidence indicates broadleaf and coniferous polar forests. Paleontological temperature proxies provide a basis for understanding Arctic early Paleogene climates; however, there is a lack of corresponding proxy data on precipitation. Both leaf physiognomic analysis and quantitative analysis of nearest living relatives of an Arctic macroflora indicate upper microthermal to lower mesothermal moist climates (mean annual temperature approximately 13-15 degrees C; cold month mean temperature approximately 4 degrees C; mean annual precipitation >120 cm/yr) for Axel Heiberg Island in the middle Eocene. Leaf-size analysis of Paleocene and Eocene Arctic floras demonstrates high precipitation for the Paleogene western and eastern Arctic. The predicted enormous volume of freshwater entering the Arctic Ocean as a result of northward drainage of a significant region of the Northern Hemisphere under a high-precipitation regime would have strongly affected Arctic Ocean salinity, potentially supporting Arctic Ocean Azolla blooms. High Paleogene precipitation around the Arctic Basin is consistent with high atmospheric humidity, which would have contributed significantly to polar, and global, Eocene warming.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 38
Serial Issue: 1
Title: How wet was the Arctic Eocene rain forest? Estimates of precipitation from Paleogene Arctic macrofloras
Affiliation: Brandon University, Department of Biology, Brandon, MB, Canada
Pages: 15-18
Published: 201001
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 32
Accession Number: 2010-019083
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 201003
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201012
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