Paleobotanical evidence for near present-day levels of atmospheric CO2 during part of the Tertiary

D. L. Royer, S. L. Wing, D. J. Beerling, David William Jolley, P. L. Koch, L. J. Hickey, R. A. Berner

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266 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding the Link between the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and Earth's temperature underpins much of paleoclimatology and our predictions of future global warming. Here, we use the inverse relationship between Leaf stomatal indices and the partial pressure of CO2 in modern Ginkgo biloba and Metasequoia glyptostroboides to develop a CO2 reconstruction based on fossil Ginkgo and Metaseguoia cuticles for the middle Paleocene to early Eocene and middle Miocene. Our reconstruction indicates that CO2 remained between 300 and 450 parts per million by volume for these intervals with the exception of a single high estimate near the Paleocene/Eocene boundary. These results suggest that factors in addition to CO2 are required to explain these past intervals of global warmth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2310-2313
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume292
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001

Keywords

  • PALEOCENE-EOCENE BOUNDARY
  • CARBON-DIOXIDE
  • ICE CORE
  • CLIMATE
  • RECORD
  • MARINE
  • RESPONSES
  • LEAVES
  • END
  • L.

Cite this

Royer, D. L., Wing, S. L., Beerling, D. J., Jolley, D. W., Koch, P. L., Hickey, L. J., & Berner, R. A. (2001). Paleobotanical evidence for near present-day levels of atmospheric CO2 during part of the Tertiary. Science, 292, 2310-2313. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.292.5525.2310