Global mean surface temperature and climate sensitivity of the early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and latest Paleocene

Inglis, Gordon N., Bragg, Fran, Burls, Natalie, Evans, David, Foster, Gavin L., Huber, Matthew, Lunt, Daniel J., Siler, Nicholas, Steinig, Sebastian, Wilkinson, Richard, Anagnostou, Eleni, Cramwinckel, Margot, Hollis, Christopher J., Pancost, Richard D. and Tierney, Jessica E. (2020) Global mean surface temperature and climate sensitivity of the early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and latest Paleocene Climate of the Past, 16 . pp. 1953-1968. DOI 10.5194/cp-16-1953-2020.

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Abstract

Accurate estimates of past global mean surface temperature (GMST) help to contextualise future climate change and are required to estimate the sensitivity of the climate system to CO2 forcing through Earth's history. Previous GMST estimates for the latest Paleocene and early Eocene (∼57 to 48 million years ago) span a wide range (∼9 to 23 ∘C higher than pre-industrial) and prevent an accurate assessment of climate sensitivity during this extreme greenhouse climate interval. Using the most recent data compilations, we employ a multi-method experimental framework to calculate GMST during the three DeepMIP target intervals: (1) the latest Paleocene (∼57 Ma), (2) the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM; 56 Ma), and (3) the early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO; 53.3 to 49.1 Ma). Using six different methodologies, we find that the average GMST estimate (66 % confidence) during the latest Paleocene, PETM, and EECO was 26.3 ∘C (22.3 to 28.3 ∘C), 31.6 ∘C (27.2 to 34.5 ∘C), and 27.0 ∘C (23.2 to 29.7 ∘C), respectively. GMST estimates from the EECO are ∼10 to 16 ∘C warmer than pre-industrial, higher than the estimate given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (9 to 14 ∘C higher than pre-industrial). Leveraging the large “signal” associated with these extreme warm climates, we combine estimates of GMST and CO2 from the latest Paleocene, PETM, and EECO to calculate gross estimates of the average climate sensitivity between the early Paleogene and today. We demonstrate that “bulk” equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS; 66 % confidence) during the latest Paleocene, PETM, and EECO is 4.5 ∘C (2.4 to 6.8 ∘C), 3.6 ∘C (2.3 to 4.7 ∘C), and 3.1 ∘C (1.8 to 4.4 ∘C) per doubling of CO2. These values are generally similar to those assessed by the IPCC (1.5 to 4.5 ∘C per doubling CO2) but appear incompatible with low ECS values (<1.5 per doubling CO2).

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Paleocene; GMST; climate change; Eocene; SST; Sea surface temperature
Research affiliation: NOC
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/cp-16-1953-2020
ISSN: 1814-9324
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:54
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2020 11:58
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/48891

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