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      Understanding the Monterey Formation and Similar Biosiliceous Units across Space and Time 

      Middle Miocene climate–carbon cycle dynamics: Keys for understanding future trends on a warmer Earth?

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          ABSTRACT

          The late early to middle Miocene period (18–12.7 Ma) was marked by profound environmental change, as Earth entered into the warmest climate phase of the Neogene (Miocene climate optimum) and then transitioned to a much colder mode with development of permanent ice sheets on Antarctica. Integration of high-resolution benthic foraminiferal isotope records in well-preserved sedimentary successions from the Pacific, Southern, and Indian Oceans provides a long-term perspective with which to assess relationships among climate change, ocean circulation, and carbon cycle dynamics during these successive climate reversals. Fundamentally different modes of ocean circulation and carbon cycling prevailed on an almost ice-free Earth during the Miocene climate optimum (ca. 16.9–14.7 Ma). Comparison of δ13C profiles revealed a marked decrease in ocean stratification and in the strength of the meridional overturning circulation during the Miocene climate optimum. We speculate that labile polar ice sheets, weaker Southern Hemisphere westerlies, higher sea level, and more acidic, oxygen-depleted oceans promoted shelf-basin partitioning of carbonate deposition and a weaker meridional overturning circulation, reducing the sequestration efficiency of the biological pump. X-ray fluorescence scanning data additionally revealed that 100 k.y. eccentricity-paced transient hyperthermal events coincided with intense episodes of deep-water acidification and deoxygenation. The in-phase coherence of δ18O and δ13C at the eccentricity band further suggests that orbitally paced processes such as remineralization of organic carbon from the deep-ocean dissolved organic carbon pool and/or weathering-induced carbon and nutrient fluxes from tropical monsoonal regions to the ocean contributed to the high amplitude variability of the marine carbon cycle. Stepwise global cooling and ice-sheet expansion during the middle Miocene climate transition (ca. 14.7–13.8 Ma) were associated with dampening of astronomically driven climate cycles and progressive steepening of the δ13C gradient between intermediate and deep waters, indicating intensification and vertical expansion of ocean meridional overturning circulation following the end of the Miocene climate optimum. Together, these results underline the crucial role of the marine carbon cycle and low-latitude processes in driving climate dynamics on an almost ice-free Earth.

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          A long-term numerical solution for the insolation quantities of the Earth

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            An early Cenozoic perspective on greenhouse warming and carbon-cycle dynamics.

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              The distribution of 13C of ΣCO2 in the world oceans

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                Author and book information

                Book Chapter
                September 26 2022
                : 93-111
                10.1130/2022.2556(05)
                7417133b-03da-4ee9-a01e-3cc58c0e4009
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