Persistent near–tropical warmth on the antarctic continent during the early eocene epoch

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 318 Scientists, Sandra Passchier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

149 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The warmest global climates of the past 65 million years occurred during the early Eocene epoch (about 55 to 48 million years ago), when the Equator–to–pole temperature gradients were much smaller than today and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were in excess of one thousand parts per million by volume. Recently the early Eocene has received considerable interest because it may provide insight into the response of Earth’s climate and biosphere to the high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that are expected in the near future as a consequence of unabated anthropogenic carbon emissions. Climatic conditions of the early Eocene ‘greenhouse world’, however, are poorly constrained in critical regions, particularly Antarctica. Here we present a well–dated record of early Eocene climate on Antarctica from an ocean sediment core recovered off the Wilkes Land coast of East Antarctica. The information from biotic climate proxies (pollen and spores) and independent organic geochemical climate proxies (indices based on branched tetraether lipids) yields quantitative, seasonal temperature reconstructions for the early Eocene greenhouse world on Antarctica. We show that the climate in lowland settings along the Wilkes Land coast (at a palaeolatitude of about 70° south) supported the growth of highly diverse, near-tropical forests characterized by mesothermal to megathermal floral elements including palms and Bombacoideae. Notably, winters were extremely mild (warmer than 10°C) and essentially frost–free despite polar darkness, which provides a critical new constraint for the validation of climate models and for understanding the response of high–latitude terrestrial ecosystems to increased carbon dioxide forcing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume488
Issue number7409
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2012

Fingerprint

Climate
Carbon Dioxide
Proxy
Temperature
Darkness
Pollen
Spores
Oceans and Seas
Ecosystem
Carbon
Lipids
Growth

Cite this

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 318 Scientists ; Passchier, Sandra. / Persistent near–tropical warmth on the antarctic continent during the early eocene epoch. In: Nature. 2012 ; Vol. 488, No. 7409. pp. 73-77.
@article{dd578a22664a4fac9e5c573eff2a1465,
title = "Persistent near–tropical warmth on the antarctic continent during the early eocene epoch",
abstract = "The warmest global climates of the past 65 million years occurred during the early Eocene epoch (about 55 to 48 million years ago), when the Equator–to–pole temperature gradients were much smaller than today and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were in excess of one thousand parts per million by volume. Recently the early Eocene has received considerable interest because it may provide insight into the response of Earth’s climate and biosphere to the high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that are expected in the near future as a consequence of unabated anthropogenic carbon emissions. Climatic conditions of the early Eocene ‘greenhouse world’, however, are poorly constrained in critical regions, particularly Antarctica. Here we present a well–dated record of early Eocene climate on Antarctica from an ocean sediment core recovered off the Wilkes Land coast of East Antarctica. The information from biotic climate proxies (pollen and spores) and independent organic geochemical climate proxies (indices based on branched tetraether lipids) yields quantitative, seasonal temperature reconstructions for the early Eocene greenhouse world on Antarctica. We show that the climate in lowland settings along the Wilkes Land coast (at a palaeolatitude of about 70° south) supported the growth of highly diverse, near-tropical forests characterized by mesothermal to megathermal floral elements including palms and Bombacoideae. Notably, winters were extremely mild (warmer than 10°C) and essentially frost–free despite polar darkness, which provides a critical new constraint for the validation of climate models and for understanding the response of high–latitude terrestrial ecosystems to increased carbon dioxide forcing.",
author = "{Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 318 Scientists} and J{\"o}rg Pross and Lineth Contreras and Bijl, {Peter K.} and Greenwood, {David R.} and Bohaty, {Steven M.} and Stefan Schouten and Bendle, {James A.} and Ursula R{\"o}hl and Lisa Tauxe and Raine, {J. Ian} and Huck, {Claire E.} and {Van De Flierdt}, Tina and Jamieson, {Stewart S.R.} and Stickley, {Catherine E.} and {Van De Schootbrugge}, Bas and Carlota Escutia and Henk Brinkhuis and {Escutia Dotti}, Carlota and Adam Klaus and Annick Fehr and Trevor Williams and Bendle, {James A.P.} and Carr, {Stephanie A.} and Dunbar, {Robert B.} and Gonz{\`e}lez, {Jhon J.} and Hayden, {Travis G.} and Masao Iwai and {Jimenez Espejo}, {Francisco J.} and Kota Katsuki and {Soo Kong}, Gee and {Mc Kay}, {Robert M.} and Mutsumi Nakai and Olney, {Matthew P.} and Sandra Passchier and Pekar, {Stephen F.} and Sandra Passchier and Toyosaburo Sakai and Shrivastava, {Prakash K.} and Saiko Sugisaki and Shouting Tuo and Kevin Welsh and Masako Yamane",
year = "2012",
month = "8",
day = "2",
doi = "10.1038/nature11300",
language = "English",
volume = "488",
pages = "73--77",
journal = "Nature",
issn = "0028-0836",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "7409",

}

Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 318 Scientists & Passchier, S 2012, 'Persistent near–tropical warmth on the antarctic continent during the early eocene epoch', Nature, vol. 488, no. 7409, pp. 73-77. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11300

Persistent near–tropical warmth on the antarctic continent during the early eocene epoch. / Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 318 Scientists ; Passchier, Sandra.

In: Nature, Vol. 488, No. 7409, 02.08.2012, p. 73-77.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Persistent near–tropical warmth on the antarctic continent during the early eocene epoch

AU - Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 318 Scientists

AU - Pross, Jörg

AU - Contreras, Lineth

AU - Bijl, Peter K.

AU - Greenwood, David R.

AU - Bohaty, Steven M.

AU - Schouten, Stefan

AU - Bendle, James A.

AU - Röhl, Ursula

AU - Tauxe, Lisa

AU - Raine, J. Ian

AU - Huck, Claire E.

AU - Van De Flierdt, Tina

AU - Jamieson, Stewart S.R.

AU - Stickley, Catherine E.

AU - Van De Schootbrugge, Bas

AU - Escutia, Carlota

AU - Brinkhuis, Henk

AU - Escutia Dotti, Carlota

AU - Klaus, Adam

AU - Fehr, Annick

AU - Williams, Trevor

AU - Bendle, James A.P.

AU - Carr, Stephanie A.

AU - Dunbar, Robert B.

AU - Gonzèlez, Jhon J.

AU - Hayden, Travis G.

AU - Iwai, Masao

AU - Jimenez Espejo, Francisco J.

AU - Katsuki, Kota

AU - Soo Kong, Gee

AU - Mc Kay, Robert M.

AU - Nakai, Mutsumi

AU - Olney, Matthew P.

AU - Passchier, Sandra

AU - Pekar, Stephen F.

AU - Passchier, Sandra

AU - Sakai, Toyosaburo

AU - Shrivastava, Prakash K.

AU - Sugisaki, Saiko

AU - Tuo, Shouting

AU - Welsh, Kevin

AU - Yamane, Masako

PY - 2012/8/2

Y1 - 2012/8/2

N2 - The warmest global climates of the past 65 million years occurred during the early Eocene epoch (about 55 to 48 million years ago), when the Equator–to–pole temperature gradients were much smaller than today and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were in excess of one thousand parts per million by volume. Recently the early Eocene has received considerable interest because it may provide insight into the response of Earth’s climate and biosphere to the high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that are expected in the near future as a consequence of unabated anthropogenic carbon emissions. Climatic conditions of the early Eocene ‘greenhouse world’, however, are poorly constrained in critical regions, particularly Antarctica. Here we present a well–dated record of early Eocene climate on Antarctica from an ocean sediment core recovered off the Wilkes Land coast of East Antarctica. The information from biotic climate proxies (pollen and spores) and independent organic geochemical climate proxies (indices based on branched tetraether lipids) yields quantitative, seasonal temperature reconstructions for the early Eocene greenhouse world on Antarctica. We show that the climate in lowland settings along the Wilkes Land coast (at a palaeolatitude of about 70° south) supported the growth of highly diverse, near-tropical forests characterized by mesothermal to megathermal floral elements including palms and Bombacoideae. Notably, winters were extremely mild (warmer than 10°C) and essentially frost–free despite polar darkness, which provides a critical new constraint for the validation of climate models and for understanding the response of high–latitude terrestrial ecosystems to increased carbon dioxide forcing.

AB - The warmest global climates of the past 65 million years occurred during the early Eocene epoch (about 55 to 48 million years ago), when the Equator–to–pole temperature gradients were much smaller than today and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were in excess of one thousand parts per million by volume. Recently the early Eocene has received considerable interest because it may provide insight into the response of Earth’s climate and biosphere to the high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that are expected in the near future as a consequence of unabated anthropogenic carbon emissions. Climatic conditions of the early Eocene ‘greenhouse world’, however, are poorly constrained in critical regions, particularly Antarctica. Here we present a well–dated record of early Eocene climate on Antarctica from an ocean sediment core recovered off the Wilkes Land coast of East Antarctica. The information from biotic climate proxies (pollen and spores) and independent organic geochemical climate proxies (indices based on branched tetraether lipids) yields quantitative, seasonal temperature reconstructions for the early Eocene greenhouse world on Antarctica. We show that the climate in lowland settings along the Wilkes Land coast (at a palaeolatitude of about 70° south) supported the growth of highly diverse, near-tropical forests characterized by mesothermal to megathermal floral elements including palms and Bombacoideae. Notably, winters were extremely mild (warmer than 10°C) and essentially frost–free despite polar darkness, which provides a critical new constraint for the validation of climate models and for understanding the response of high–latitude terrestrial ecosystems to increased carbon dioxide forcing.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84863501128&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/nature11300

DO - 10.1038/nature11300

M3 - Article

C2 - 22859204

AN - SCOPUS:84863501128

VL - 488

SP - 73

EP - 77

JO - Nature

JF - Nature

SN - 0028-0836

IS - 7409

ER -