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Mid-Pliocene equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature reconstruction: a multi-proxy perspective

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

By:
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DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2008.0206

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Abstract

The Mid-Pliocene is the most recent interval of sustained global warmth, which can be used to examine conditions predicted for the near future. An accurate spatial representation of the low-latitude Mid-Pliocene Pacific surface ocean is necessary to understand past climate change in the light of forecasts of future change. Mid-Pliocene sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies show a strong contrast between the western equatorial Pacific (WEP) and eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) regardless of proxy (faunal, alkenone and Mg/Ca). All WEP sites show small differences from modern mean annual temperature, but all EEP sites show significant positive deviation from present-day temperatures by as much as 4.4°C. Our reconstruction reflects SSTs similar to modern in the WEP, warmer than modern in the EEP and eastward extension of the WEP warm pool. The east-west equatorial Pacific SST gradient is decreased, but the pole to equator gradient does not change appreciably. We find it improbable that increased greenhouse gases (GHG) alone would cause such a heterogeneous warming and more likely that the cause of Mid-Pliocene warmth is a combination of several forcings including both increased meridional heat transport and increased GHG.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Mid-Pliocene equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature reconstruction: a multi-proxy perspective
Series title:
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
DOI:
10.1098/rsta.2008.0206
Volume
13
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
Royal Society Publishing
Publisher location:
London, England
Contributing office(s):
Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description:
17 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
109
Last page:
125