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Slow release of fossil carbon during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Slow release of fossil carbon during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
Slow release of fossil carbon during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
The transient global warming event known as the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum occurred about 55.9?Myr ago. The warming was accompanied by a rapid shift in the isotopic signature of sedimentary carbonates, suggesting that the event was triggered by a massive release of carbon to the ocean–atmosphere system. However, the source, rate of emission and total amount of carbon involved remain poorly constrained. Here we use an expanded marine sedimentary section from Spitsbergen to reconstruct the carbon isotope excursion as recorded in marine organic matter. We find that the total magnitude of the carbon isotope excursion in the ocean–atmosphere system was about 4‰. We then force an Earth system model of intermediate complexity to conform to our isotope record, allowing us to generate a continuous estimate of the rate of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Our simulations show that the peak rate of carbon addition was probably in the range of 0.3–1.7?Pg?C?yr?1, much slower than the present rate of carbon emissions.
1752-0894
481-485
Cui, Ying
5c157b47-a961-44cf-b1d6-0156818d5963
Kump, Lee R.
55a44fcd-b2fd-4123-bdff-c3ab5087e9c5
Ridgwell, Andy J.
477f71e7-b244-47eb-af72-ff72d3b2ff73
Charles, Adam J.
7d0137ea-abbf-4bf1-924f-8e2242e60b8d
Junium, Christopher K.
35d2ddd8-7d38-40a0-a7ed-78010a103931
Diefendorf, Aaron F.
2044f45b-62a1-48f2-85eb-28e28f6a06b6
Freeman, Katherine H.
d9200932-f523-44ed-a2de-da760d145ff0
Urban, Nathan M.
35cae472-b276-4f06-adb2-9764b232a4b8
Harding, Ian C.
5d63b829-a9a7-447f-aa3f-62e8d0e715cb
Cui, Ying
5c157b47-a961-44cf-b1d6-0156818d5963
Kump, Lee R.
55a44fcd-b2fd-4123-bdff-c3ab5087e9c5
Ridgwell, Andy J.
477f71e7-b244-47eb-af72-ff72d3b2ff73
Charles, Adam J.
7d0137ea-abbf-4bf1-924f-8e2242e60b8d
Junium, Christopher K.
35d2ddd8-7d38-40a0-a7ed-78010a103931
Diefendorf, Aaron F.
2044f45b-62a1-48f2-85eb-28e28f6a06b6
Freeman, Katherine H.
d9200932-f523-44ed-a2de-da760d145ff0
Urban, Nathan M.
35cae472-b276-4f06-adb2-9764b232a4b8
Harding, Ian C.
5d63b829-a9a7-447f-aa3f-62e8d0e715cb

Cui, Ying, Kump, Lee R., Ridgwell, Andy J., Charles, Adam J., Junium, Christopher K., Diefendorf, Aaron F., Freeman, Katherine H., Urban, Nathan M. and Harding, Ian C. (2011) Slow release of fossil carbon during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Nature Geoscience, 4, 481-485. (doi:10.1038/ngeo1179).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The transient global warming event known as the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum occurred about 55.9?Myr ago. The warming was accompanied by a rapid shift in the isotopic signature of sedimentary carbonates, suggesting that the event was triggered by a massive release of carbon to the ocean–atmosphere system. However, the source, rate of emission and total amount of carbon involved remain poorly constrained. Here we use an expanded marine sedimentary section from Spitsbergen to reconstruct the carbon isotope excursion as recorded in marine organic matter. We find that the total magnitude of the carbon isotope excursion in the ocean–atmosphere system was about 4‰. We then force an Earth system model of intermediate complexity to conform to our isotope record, allowing us to generate a continuous estimate of the rate of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Our simulations show that the peak rate of carbon addition was probably in the range of 0.3–1.7?Pg?C?yr?1, much slower than the present rate of carbon emissions.

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More information

Published date: 2011
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 191661
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/191661
ISSN: 1752-0894
PURE UUID: 3990968e-e8a2-4009-824a-4315fedacffb
ORCID for Ian C. Harding: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4281-0581

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Jun 2011 09:09
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:34

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Contributors

Author: Ying Cui
Author: Lee R. Kump
Author: Andy J. Ridgwell
Author: Adam J. Charles
Author: Christopher K. Junium
Author: Aaron F. Diefendorf
Author: Katherine H. Freeman
Author: Nathan M. Urban
Author: Ian C. Harding ORCID iD

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