Previous interpretation of the Tertiary δ18O record of plaiiktic and benthic foraminifers has emphasized comparison to the modern ocean, assumed an ice-free world prior to middle Miocene time, and thereby calculated surprisingly cool temperatures for the tropical sea surface. We propose an alternative interpretation, which compares Tertiary data to average late Pleistocene, assumes constant tropical sea-surface temperature, and thereby estimates global ice volume. This approach suggests that Earth has had a significant ice budget (and therefore glacio-eustatic sea-level fluctuations) at least since Eocene and perhaps even throughout much of Cretaceous time.

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