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High-resolution alkenone palaeobarometry indicates relatively stable pCO2 during the Pliocene (3.3-2.8 Ma)

Badger, Marcus P.S.; Schmidt, Daniela N.; Mackensen, Andreas and Pancost, Richard D. (2013). High-resolution alkenone palaeobarometry indicates relatively stable pCO2 during the Pliocene (3.3-2.8 Ma). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 371(2001), article no. 20130094.

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Temperature reconstructions indicate that the Pliocene was approximately 3°C warmer globally than today, and several recent reconstructions of Pliocene atmospheric CO2 indicate that it was above pre-industrial levels and similar to those likely to be seen this century. However, many of these reconstructions have been of relatively low temporal resolution, meaning that these records may have failed to capture variations associated with the 41 kyr glacial–interglacial cycles thought to have operated in the Pliocene. Here we present a new, high temporal resolution alkenone carbon isotope-based record of pCO2 spanning 3.3–2.8 Ma from Ocean Drilling Program Site 999. Our record is of high enough resolution (approx. 19 kyr) to resolve glacial–interglacial changes beyond the intrinsic uncertainty of the proxy method. The record suggests that Pliocene CO2 levels were relatively stable, exhibiting variation less than 55 ppm. We perform sensitivity studies to investigate the possible effect of changing sea surface temperature (SST), which highlights the importance of accurate and precise SST reconstructions for alkenone palaeobarometry, but demonstrate that these uncertainties do not affect our conclusions of relatively stable pCO2 levels during this interval.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1471-2962
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
GrantNE/H006273/1NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)
Keywords: Pliocene; pCO2; atmospheric carbon dioxide; climate; alkenone; Ocean Drilling Program Site 999
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 45566
Depositing User: Marcus Badger
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2016 14:05
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2019 05:41
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