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Papers on Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on August 11, 2009

Recently there has been discussion on Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) relating to recent paper in Nature Geoscience by Zeebe et al. (2009). Here is RealClimate article about the issue containing also a nice introduction to PETM. That lead me to compile this list of papers about PETM. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative. Here is a related list of links (mostly websites and news items) made by Oakden Wolf.

UPDATE (April 18, 2012): McInerney & Wing (2011) added. Thanks to Barry for pointing it out.

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: A Perturbation of Carbon Cycle, Climate, and Biosphere with Implications for the Future – McInerney & Wing (2011) “During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), ~56 Mya, thousands of petagrams of carbon were released into the ocean-atmosphere system with attendant changes in the carbon cycle, climate, ocean chemistry, and marine and continental ecosystems. The period of carbon release is thought to have lasted <20 ka, the duration of the whole event was ~200 ka, and the global temperature increase was 5–8°C. Terrestrial and marine organisms experienced large shifts in geographic ranges, rapid evolution, and changes in trophic ecology, but few groups suffered major extinctions with the exception of benthic foraminifera. The PETM provides valuable insights into the carbon cycle, climate system, and biotic responses to environmental change that are relevant to long-term future global changes." Francesca A. McInerney, and Scott L. Wing, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 39: 489-516 (Volume publication date May 2011), DOI: 10.1146/annurev-earth-040610-133431. [Full text]

Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum warming – Zeebe et al. (2009) “We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum.” [Link to PDF]

Sedimentary response to Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum carbon release: A model-data comparison – Panchuk et al. (2008) “Possible sources of carbon that may have caused global warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary are constrained using an intermediate complexity Earth-system model configured with early Eocene paleogeography. … This pulse could not have been solely the result of methane hydrate destabilization, suggesting that additional sources of CO2 such as volcanic CO2, the oxidation of sedimentary organic carbon, or thermogenic methane must also have contributed.”

On the duration of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) – Röhl et al. (2007) “A detailed chronology was developed with nondestructive X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning records on the scale of precession cycles, with a total duration of the PETM now estimated to be ∼170 ka.” [Link to PDF]

Reversed deep-sea carbonate ion basin gradient during Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum – Zeebe & Zachos (2007) “Here we show that during the PETM, the deep-sea undersaturation was not homogeneous among the different ocean basins.” [Link to PDF]

Beyond methane: Towards a theory for the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum – Higgins & Schrag (2006) “However, the magnitude of the warming (5 to 6 °C [2],[3]) and rise in the depth of the CCD (> 2 km; [4]) indicate that the size of the carbon addition was larger than can be accounted for by the methane hydrate hypothesis. Additional carbon sources associated with methane hydrate release (e.g. pore-water venting and turbidite oxidation) are also insufficient. We find that the oxidation of at least 5000 Gt C of organic carbon is the most likely explanation for the observed geochemical and climatic changes during the PETM, for which there are several potential mechanisms.” [Link to PDF]

Subtropical Arctic Ocean temperatures during the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum – Sluijs et al. (2006) “We show that sea surface temperatures near the North Pole increased from 18 °C to over 23 °C during this event. Such warm values imply the absence of ice and thus exclude the influence of ice-albedo feedbacks on this Arctic warming.” [Link to PDF]

An Ancient Carbon Mystery – Pagani et al. (2006) “About 55 million years ago, Earth experienced a period of global warming that lasted similar to 170,000 years. This climate event–the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)–may be the best ancient analog for future increases in atmospheric CO sub(2). But how well do we understand this event?”

Extreme warming of mid-latitude coastal ocean during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: Inferences from TEX86 and isotope data – Zachos et al. (2006) “Here we present a record of sea surface temperature change across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary for a nearshore, shallow marine section located on the eastern margin of North America. The SST record, as inferred from TEX86 data, indicates a minimum of 8 °C of warming, with peak temperatures in excess of 33 °C. Similar SSTs are estimated from planktonic foraminifer oxygen isotope records, although the excursion is slightly larger.”

Rapid Acidification of the Ocean During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum – Zachos et al. (2005) “These findings indicate that a large mass of carbon (»2000 x 109 metric tons of carbon) dissolved in the ocean at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary and that permanent sequestration of this carbon occurred through silicate weathering feedback.”

Deep-Sea Temperature and Circulation Changes at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum – Tripati & Elderfield (2005) “Foraminiferal magnesium/calcium ratios indicate that bottom waters warmed by 4° to 5°C, similar to tropical and subtropical surface ocean waters, implying no amplification of warming in high-latitude regions of deep-water formation under ice-free conditions. Intermediate waters warmed before the carbon isotope excursion, in association with downwelling in the North Pacific and reduced Southern Ocean convection, supporting changing circulation as the trigger for methane hydrate release.”

A Transient Rise in Tropical Sea Surface Temperature During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum – Zachos et al. (2003) “Using mixed-layer foraminifera, we found that the combined proxies imply a 4° to 5°C rise in Pacific SST during the PETM. These results would necessitate a rise in atmospheric pCO2 to levels three to four times as high as those estimated for the late Paleocene.”

Methane oxidation during the late Palaeocene thermal maximum – Dickens (2000) “Important conclusions from this work are that massive CH4 release into any carbon reservoir will cause a negative delta 13C excursion, increased atmosphere pCO2, elevated global surface temperature, and pelagic carbonate dissolution, but that the timing and magnitude of these responses depends on the location of CH4 oxidation.”

Abrupt deep-sea warming, palaeoceanographic changes and benthic extinctions at the end of the Palaeocene – Kennett & Stott (1991) “A remarkable oxygen and carbon isotope excursion occurred in Antarctic waters near the end of the Palaeocene (~57.33 Myr ago), indicating rapid global warming and oceanographic changes that caused one of the largest deep-sea benthic extinctions of the past 90 million years.”

2 Responses to “Papers on Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum”

  1. barry said

    The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum: A Perturbation of Carbon Cycle, Climate, and Biosphere with Implications for the Future

    McInerney and Wing (2011)

    During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 56 Mya, thousands of petagrams of carbon were released into the ocean-atmosphere system with attendant changes in the carbon cycle, climate, ocean chemistry, and marine and continental ecosystems. The period of carbon release is thought to have lasted <20 ka, the duration of the whole event was 200 ka, and the global temperature increase was 5–8°C. Terrestrial and marine organisms experienced large shifts in geographic ranges, rapid evolution, and changes in trophic ecology, but few groups suffered major extinctions with the exception of benthic foraminifera. The PETM provides valuable insights into the carbon cycle, climate system, and biotic responses to environmental change that are relevant to long-term future global changes.

    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-earth-040610-133431

    Full: http://973.geobiology.cn/photo/2011050939692101.pdf

  2. Ari Jokimäki said

    I added it, thanks.

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