Toward a Cenozoic history of atmospheric CO2

Hönisch, Bärbel; Royer, Dana L.; Breecker, Daniel O.; Polissar, Pratigya J.; Bowen, Gabriel J.; Henehan, Michael J.; Cui, Ying; Steinthorsdottir, Margret; McElwain, Jennifer C.; Kohn, Matthew J.; Pearson, Ann; Phelps, Samuel R.; Uno, Kevin T.; Ridgwell, Andy; Anagnostou, Eleni; Austermann, Jacqueline; Badger, Marcus; Barclay, Richard S.; Bijl, Peter K.; Chalk, Thomas B.; Scotese, Christopher R.; de la Vega, Elwyn; DeConto, Robert M.; Dyez, Kelsey A.; Ferrini, Vicki; Franks, Peter J.; Giulivi, Claudia F.; Gutjahr, Marcus; Harper, Dustin T.; Haynes, Laura L.; Huber, Matthew; Snell, Kathryn E.; Keisling, Benjamin A.; Konrad, Wilfried; Lowenstein, Tim K.; Malinverno, Alberto; Guillermic, Maxence; Mejía, Luz María; Milligan, Joseph N.; Morton, John J.; Nordt, Lee; Whiteford, Ross; Roth-Nebelsick, Anita; Rugenstein, Jeremy K. C.; Schaller, Morgan F.; Sheldon, Nathan D.; Sosdian, Sindia; Wilkes, Elise B.; Witkowski, Caitlyn R.; Zhang, Yi Ge; Anderson, Lloyd; Beerling, David J.; Bolton, Clara; Cerling, Thure E.; Cotton, Jennifer M.; Da, Jiawei; Ekart, Douglas D.; Foster, Gavin L.; Greenwood, David R.; Hyland, Ethan G.; Jagniecki, Elliot A.; Jasper, John P.; Kowalczyk, Jennifer B.; Kunzmann, Lutz; Kürschner, Wolfram M.; Lawrence, Charles E.; Lear, Caroline H.; Martínez-Botí, Miguel A.; Maxbauer, Daniel P.; Montagna, Paolo; Naafs, B. David A.; Rae, James W. B.; Raitzsch, Markus; Retallack, Gregory J.; Ring, Simon J.; Seki, Osamu; Sepúlveda, Julio; Sinha, Ashish; Tesfamichael, Tekie F.; Tripati, Aradhna; van der Burgh, Johan; Yu, Jimin; Zachos, James C. and Zhang, Laiming (2023). Toward a Cenozoic history of atmospheric CO2. Science, 382(6675)



The geological record encodes the relationship between climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) over long and short timescales, as well as potential drivers of evolutionary transitions. However, reconstructing CO2 beyond direct measurements requires the use of paleoproxies and herein lies the challenge, as proxies differ in their assumptions, degree of understanding, and even reconstructed values. In this study, we critically evaluated, categorized, and integrated available proxies to create a high-fidelity and transparently constructed atmospheric CO2 record spanning the past 66 million years. This newly constructed record provides clearer evidence for higher Earth system sensitivity in the past and for the role of CO2 thresholds in biological and cryosphere evolution.

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