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Carbon dioxide forcing and PETM warming

Sep 16, 2009 - by Staff

Richard Zeebe, James Zachos, and Gerald Dickens, Carbon dioxide forcing alone insufficient to explain Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum warming. Nature Geoscience 2 (2009), 576–580

About 55 million years ago, temperatures rose by 5–9°C(9–16°F) over a few thousand years. The cause is presumed to be a pulse of carbon released from an unknown source. Using paleorecords and a carbon cycle model, the authors estimate that atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by only about 70% above pre-event levels, which would explain less than half of the proxy-inferred warming. They conclude that unknown processes and/or feedbacks played an important role in the temperature rise.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA • UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ • RICE UNIVERSITY

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