Sea-surface temperature (SST) estimates based on quantitative analysis of planktic foraminifer faunas in North Atlantic deep sea cores suggest that high-frequency, low-amplitude variability related to orbital forcing was superimposed on long-term changes that delineate intervals within the Pliocene that were both warmer and cooler than today. SST estimates from several DSDP and ODP sites, as well as land sections, have been combined into a synoptic view of SST during a Pliocene warm interval centered at about 3.0 Ma. The Pliocene North Atlantic warm interval SST estimates show little evidence for warming in tropical regions whereas mid- to high-latitude areas show moderate to strong warming. SST estimates for the last interglacial (Isotope Stage 5e) show a similar pattern, but warming during the last interglacial was not as pronounced as the Middle Pliocene warming. The regional distribution of SST estimates during these past warm events suggests an increase in ocean circulation. ?? 1991.