Estimates of sea surface temperature (SST) from ocean cores reveal a warm phase of the Pliocene between about 3.3 and 3.0 Mega-annums (Ma). Pollen records from land based cores and sections, although not as well dated, also show evidence for a warmer climate at about the same time. Increased greenhouse forcing and altered ocean heat transport is the leading candidates for the underlying cause of Pliocene global warmth. However, despite being a period of global warmth, there exists considerable variability within this interval. Two new SST reconstructions have been created to provide a climatological error bar for warm peak phases of the Pliocene. These data represent the maximum and minimum possible warming recorded within the 3.3 to 3.0 Ma interval.
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Bracketing mid-pliocene sea surface temperature: maximum and minimum possible warming