Lutz, Brendan P. (2011): Shifts in North Atlantic planktic foraminifer biogeography and subtropical gyre circulation during the mid-Piacenzian warm period. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Marine Micropaleontology, 80 (3-4), 125-149, georefid:2012-003228

The mid-Piacenzian (MP) warm period (3.264-3.025 Ma) has been identified as the most recent time in geologic history during which mean global surface temperatures were considerably warmer than today for a sustained period. This interval has therefore been proposed as a potential (albeit imperfect) analog for future climate change and as such has received much scientific attention over the past two decades. Central to this research effort is the Pliocene Research, Interpretation, and Synoptic Mapping (PRISM) project, an iterative paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the MP focused on increasing our understanding of warm-period climate forcings, dynamics, and feedbacks by providing three-dimensional data sets for general circulation models. A mainstay of the PRISM project has been the development of a global sea surface temperature (SST) data set based primarily upon quantitative analyses of planktic foraminifer assemblages, supplemented with geochemical SST estimates wherever possible. In order to improve spatial coverage of the PRISM faunal data set in the low- and mid-latitude North Atlantic, this study provides a description of the MP planktic foraminifer assemblage from five Ocean Drilling Program sites (951, 958, 1006, 1062, and 1063) in the subtropical gyre, a region critical to Atlantic Ocean circulation and tropical heat advection. Assemblages from each core provide evidence for a temperature- and circulation-driven 5-10 degrees northward displacement of MP faunal provinces, as well as regional shifts in planktic foraminifer populations linked to species ecology and interactions. General biogeographic trends also indicate that, relative to modern conditions, gyre circulation was stronger (particularly the Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Current, and North Equatorial Current) and meridionally broader. A comparison of mid-Piacenzian and modern North Atlantic planktic foraminifer assemblages suggests that low-latitude western boundary currents were less than 1 degrees C warmer while eastern boundary currents were approximately 1-2 degrees C warmer, supporting the hypothesis of enhanced northward heat advection along western boundary currents and warming of high-latitude Northeast Atlantic source regions for the Canary Current. These findings are consistent with a model of reduced meridional SST gradients, with little-to-no low-latitude warming, and more vigorous ocean circulation. Results therefore support the theory that enhanced meridional overturn circulation and associated northward heat advection made an important contribution, in conjunction with elevated atmospheric CO (sub 2) concentrations, to the 2-3 degrees C global surface temperature increase (relative to today) and strong polar amplification of SST warmth during the MP warm period. Abstract Copyright (2011) Elsevier, B.V.
West: -79.2733 East: -20.0003 North: 33.4111 South: 23.5956
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Site: 157-951
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Site: 159-958
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Site: 166-1006
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Site: 172-1062
Site: 172-1063
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