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Fossil plant stomata indicate decreasing atmospheric CO2 prior to the Eocene-Oligocene boundary
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences.
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Number of Authors: 6
2016 (English)In: Climate of the Past, ISSN 1814-9324, E-ISSN 1814-9332, Vol. 12, no 2, 439-454 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A unique stratigraphic sequence of fossil leaves of Eotrigonobalanus furcinervis (extinct trees of the beech family, Fagaceae) from central Germany has been used to derive an atmospheric pCO(2) record with multiple data points spanning the late middle to late Eocene, two sampling levels which may be earliest Oligocene, and two samples from later in the Oligocene. Using the inverse relationship between the density of stomata and pCO(2), we show that pCO(2) decreased continuously from the late middle to late Eocene, reaching a relatively stable low value before the end of the Eocene. Based on the subsequent records, pCO(2) in parts of the Oligocene was similar to latest Eocene values. These results suggest that a decrease in pCO(2) preceded the large shift in marine oxygen isotope records that characterizes the Eocene-Oligocene transition and that when a certain threshold of pCO(2) change was crossed, the cumulative effects of this and other factors resulted in rapid temperature decline, ice build up on Antarctica and hence a change of climate mode.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 12, no 2, 439-454 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129100DOI: 10.5194/cp-12-439-2016ISI: 000371625400015OAI: diva2:921087
Available from: 2016-04-19 Created: 2016-04-14 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Steinthorsdottir, Margret
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