Palaeoclimate

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Modelling and sea surface temperature proxy data from the Weddell Sea document a 3–4 °C drop coinciding with the Early Cretaceous Weissert Event. Temperature data worldwide confirm a 3.0 °C global mean surface cooling, equivalent to a ~40% drop in atmospheric pCO2, favouring local polar ice.

    • Liyenne Cavalheiro
    • , Thomas Wagner
    •  & Elisabetta Erba
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Paleocene–Eocene boundary coincided with runaway global warming possibly analogous to future climate change, but the sources of greenhouse gasses have remained unresolved. Here, the authors reveal volcanism triggered initial warming, and subsequent carbon was released after crossing a tipping point.

    • Sev Kender
    • , Kara Bogus
    •  & Melanie J. Leng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is still unclear when and by which route modern humans expanded out of Africa. Here, Beyer et al. use paleoclimate reconstructions and estimates of human precipitation requirements to evaluate the survivability of spatial and temporal migration corridors to Eurasia over the last 300,000 years.

    • Robert M. Beyer
    • , Mario Krapp
    •  & Andrea Manica
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The North Water polynya is a unique but vulnerable ecosystem, home to Indigenous people and Arctic keystone species. New palaeoecological records from Greenland suggest human abandonment c. 2200–1200 cal yrs BP occurred during climate-forced polynya instability, foreshadowing future ecosystem declines.

    • Sofia Ribeiro
    • , Audrey Limoges
    •  & Thomas A. Davidson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Reconciling the Snowball Earth hypothesis with sedimentological cyclicity has been a persistent challenge. A new cyclostratigraphic climate record for a Cryogenian banded iron formation in Australia provides evidence for orbital forcing of ice sheet advance and retreat cycles during Snowball Earth.

    • Ross N. Mitchell
    • , Thomas M. Gernon
    •  & Xiaofang He
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The drivers of monsoon systems in the past are not well known. Here, the authors present a model-based reconstruction of the last 30 million years and show that the south east Asian monsoon evolution is dominated by orographic development while the strength of the Indian Summer monsoon is controlled by a combination of factors.

    • James R. Thomson
    • , Philip B. Holden
    •  & Nigel B. W. Harris
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How sea-level in the western Mediterranean reacts to climate changes is not well known. Here, the authors present a regional reconstruction and show that temperatures influenced sea-level change rates during the Holocene, while recent sea-level rise is happening faster than during any other period of the last 4000 years.

    • Matteo Vacchi
    • , Kristen M. Joyse
    •  & Alessio Rovere
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) changed on glacial-interglacial time scales is not well known. Here, the authors present a 140,000 year long sediment record from the Drake passage and show both glacial-interglacial as well as millennial-scale variability which are linked to Atlantic variability and marine carbon storage.

    • Shuzhuang Wu
    • , Lester Lembke-Jene
    •  & Gerhard Kuhn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    “Earth degassing is a critical carbon source, but its contribution to Cenozoic atmospheric CO2 variations is not well known. Here, the authors analyse CO2 fluxes on the Tibetan Plateau and suggest that the India-Asia collision was the primary driver of changes in atmospheric CO2 over the past 65 Ma.”

    • Zhengfu Guo
    • , Marjorie Wilson
    •  & Jiaqi Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is a lot of uncertainty about what Earth’s climate and geography were like in the early Cambrian, when animal life diversified throughout the oceans. Here we show that numeric comparisons of model simulations and climatically influenced rocks can help constrain geography and climate during this time.

    • Thomas W. Wong Hearing
    • , Alexandre Pohl
    •  & Thijs R. A. Vandenbroucke
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tree rings are a crucial archive for Common Era climate reconstructions, but the degree to which methodological decisions influence outcomes is not well known. Here, the authors show how different approaches taken by 15 different groups influence the ensemble temperature reconstruction from the same data.

    • Ulf Büntgen
    • , Kathy Allen
    •  & Jan Esper
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earth-system sensitivity (ESS) describes the long-term temperature response for a given change in atmospheric CO2 and, as such, is a crucial parameter to assess future climate change. Here, the authors use a Bayesian model with data from the last 420 Myrs to reduce uncertainties and estimate ESS to be around 3.4 °C.

    • Tony E. Wong
    • , Ying Cui
    •  & Klaus Keller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Long-term sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) records can help inform how biodiversity will likely respond to future climate change. Here, Liu et al. reconstruct plant diversity at the margin of the Tibetan Plateau over the last ~18,000 years using sedaDNA and use this record to predict future diversity change.

    • Sisi Liu
    • , Stefan Kruse
    •  & Ulrike Herzschuh
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding the past is necessary to comprehend Earth’s response to present climate change, but past climate reconstruction is hampered by a lack of temperature proxies. Here the authors develop the HDI26, a proxy using cyanobacterial glycolipids to reconstruct water temperatures of lakes worldwide.

    • Thorsten Bauersachs
    • , James M. Russell
    •  & Lorenz Schwark
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Permian–Triassic mass extinction was accompanied by a massive release of carbon into the ocean-atmosphere system, but the magnitude of change is not well known. Here, the authors present a new record of C3 plants from southwestern China which shows that atmospheric pCO2 increased by a factor of six during this event.

    • Yuyang Wu
    • , Daoliang Chu
    •  & Ying Cui
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Palaeodata resolution and dating limit the study of the sequence of changes across Earth during past abrupt warmings. Here, the authors show tight decadal-scale coupling between Greenland climate, North Atlantic sea ice and atmospheric circulation during these past events using two highly resolved ice-core records.

    • E. Capron
    • , S. O. Rasmussen
    •  & J. W. C. White
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Meltwater Pulse 1A was the most rapid global sea-level rise event during the last deglaciation, but the source of the freshwater causing this rise is debated. Here, the authors use a data-driven inversion approach to show that the North American and Eurasian Ice Sheets were the dominant contributors.

    • Yucheng Lin
    • , Fiona D. Hibbert
    •  & Sarah L. Bradley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sea-level rise is an important part of climate change, but most sea-level budgets are global and cannot capture important regional changes. Here the authors estimate sea-level budgets along the U.S. Atlantic coast, finding a faster rate of rise during the 20th century than any time in the past 2000 years.

    • Jennifer S. Walker
    • , Robert E. Kopp
    •  & Benjamin P. Horton
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The configuration of past ice sheets, and therefore sea level, is highly uncertain. Here, the authors provide a global reconstruction of ice sheets for the past 80,000 years that allows to test proxy based sea level reconstructions and helps to reconcile disagreements with sea level changes inferred from models.

    • Evan J. Gowan
    • , Xu Zhang
    •  & Gerrit Lohmann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The expansion of oceanic anoxia during the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum has important implications for faunal turnover patterns and global biogeochemical cycles. Here the authors use uranium isotopes and a biogeochemical model to suggest that the areal expansion of anoxia must have been limited to 10-fold.

    • Matthew O. Clarkson
    • , Timothy M. Lenton
    •  & Derek Vance
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Some algae produce compounds called alkenones that can reconstruct sea surface temperature through geological time, but in high latitudes unknown species complicate use of this proxy. Here the authors find a lineage of sea ice algae that produces alkenones and can be used as a paleo-sensor for sea ice abundance.

    • Karen Jiaxi Wang
    • , Yongsong Huang
    •  & Patricia Cabedo-Sanz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A Southern Ocean influences on the carbon cycle is considered a key component of deglacial changes. Here, the authors show spatial differences in glacial Southern Ocean carbon storage that dissipated rapidly 14.6 kyr ago, revealing a South Indian Ocean contribution to rapid deglacial atmospheric CO2 increases.

    • Julia Gottschalk
    • , Elisabeth Michel
    •  & Samuel L. Jaccard
  • Article
    | Open Access

    This study investigates flood hazards of the Brahmaputra River, Bangladesh. Based on a tree ring reconstruction of seasonal river discharge, climate modelling, and historic documentation of flood events, the authors suggest flood hazard risk is underestimated by ~24–38% in the present day compared to the past 700 years.

    • Mukund P. Rao
    • , Edward R. Cook
    •  & Peter J. Webster
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Dust deposition brings iron that fuels ocean productivity, a connection impacting climate over geological time. Here the authors use sediment cores to show that in contrast to dynamics today, during the last glacial maximum westerly winds shuttled dust from Australia and South America around Antarctica and into the South Pacific.

    • Torben Struve
    • , Katharina Pahnke
    •  & Gisela Winckler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Solar insolation is not equally distributed on the Earth’s surface and such imbalances influence the atmospheric circulation. Here, the authors show that latitudinal insolation gradients synchronized the hydroclimate in the Northern mid-latitudes and the African and South American Monsoons throughout the Holocene.

    • Michael Deininger
    • , Frank McDermott
    •  & Denis Scholz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the El Niño Southern Oscillation depends on the background conditions is not well known. Here, the authors present individual foraminifera distributions which show that central Pacific variability is related to the warmth and depth of the thermocline across varying climate background conditions over the past ~285,000 years.

    • Gerald T. Rustic
    • , Pratigya J. Polissar
    •  & Sarah M. White
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Marine records indicate a greenhouse to icehouse climate transition at ~34 million years ago, but how the climate changed within continental interiors at this time is less well known. Here, the authors show an orbital climate response shift with aridification on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau during this time.

    • Hong Ao
    • , Guillaume Dupont-Nivet
    •  & Zhisheng An
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the abrupt warming events recorded in Greenland ice cores during the last glacial cycle have influenced the tropical climate is not well known. Here the authors present new lake sediment data from the Peruvian Andes that shows that these events resulted in rapid glacier retreat and large reductions in lake level.

    • Arielle Woods
    • , Donald T. Rodbell
    •  & Joseph S. Stoner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Few palaeoclimate archives beyond the polar regions preserve continuous and datable paleotemperature proxy time series over multiple glacial-interglacial cycles. Here, the authors show that Mg concentrations in a subaqueous speleothem from an Italian cave track regional sea-surface temperatures over the last 350,000 years.

    • Russell Drysdale
    • , Isabelle Couchoud
    •  & Jon Woodhead
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The early Eocene was characterized by exceptionally high global temperatures and no polar ice. Here, clumped isotope paleothermometry of glendonite calcite from the Danish Basin shows that these were formed in waters below 5 °C, indicating that regionalised cool episodes punctuated the background warmth of the early Eocene.

    • Madeleine L. Vickers
    • , Sabine K. Lengger
    •  & Christoph Korte
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Proxy reconstructions show a decreasing trend from the Middle to Late Holocene, which conflicts with model results showing an increasing trend. Statistical analysis of model output shows that these conflicting results originate from two distinct modes of variability, which dominate at different regions and times.

    • Jürgen Bader
    • , Johann Jungclaus
    •  & Martin Claussen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The relationship between atmospheric CO2 and climate during the Eocene greenhouse remains uncertain. Here authors show that Eocene CO2 and climate sensitivity was high during the warmest intervals and declined as global climate cooled, with implications for the Earth’s future warming climate.

    • E. Anagnostou
    • , E. H. John
    •  & G. L. Foster
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Dust emissions are likely to increase significantly when land vegetation is absent, such as during the Precambrian period. Here, the authors use climate simulations to find that high dust emissions in the Precambrian could have cooled the global climate by ~10 °C.

    • Peng Liu
    • , Yonggang Liu
    •  & Yongyun Hu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Some palaeotemperature proxies suffer from inaccuracies related to kinetic fractionations occurring during carbonate mineral growth. Here, the authors show that dual clumped isotope thermometry can identify the origin of these kinetic biases and allows for the reconstruction of accurate environmental temperatures.

    • David Bajnai
    • , Weifu Guo
    •  & Jens Fiebig
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Northeast Atlantic climate shifted into the Quaternary Ice Age around 2.6 Myr ago. Here, the authors use 3D seismic data from the northern North Sea to document detailed changes in continental-margin sedimentary architecture spanning the transition from a fluvially dominated environment to an icehouse world.

    • H. Løseth
    • , J. A. Dowdeswell
    •  & D. Ottesen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The environmental changes at the Permian–Triassic boundary are thought to have been caused primarily by volcanic eruptions. Here the authors develop a model to show that the loss of ecosystems on land and consequent massive terrestrial biomass oxidation triggered large biogeochemical changes in the oceans at the time of the marine mass extinction.

    • Jacopo Dal Corso
    • , Benjamin J. W. Mills
    •  & Paul B. Wignall
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The impact of late Pleistocene climate change on ecosystems has been hard to assess. Here, the authors sequence ancient DNA from Hall’s Cave, Texas and find that both plant and vertebrate diversity decreased with cooling, and though plant diversity recovered with rewarming, megafauna went extinct.

    • Frederik V. Seersholm
    • , Daniel J. Werndly
    •  & Michael Bunce
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The early Earth’s atmosphere had very low oxygen levels for hundreds of millions of years, until the 2.4 Ga Great Oxidation Event, which remains poorly understood. Here, the authors show that reducing Archean volcanic gases could have prevented atmospheric O2 from accumulating, and therefore mantle oxidation was likely very important in setting the evolution of O2 and aerobic life.

    • Shintaro Kadoya
    • , David C. Catling
    •  & Ariel D. Anbar
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biosphere productivity is an important component of the CO2 cycle, but how it has varied over past glacial-interglacial cycles is not well known. Here, the authors present new data that shows that global biosphere productivity was 10 to 30% higher during Termination V compared to younger deglaciations.

    • Margaux Brandon
    • , Amaelle Landais
    •  & Thomas Blunier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the development of human societies is influenced through their ecological environment and climatic conditions has been the subject of intensive debate. Here, the authors present multi-proxy data from southern Scandinavia which suggests that pre-agricultural population growth there was likely influenced by enhanced marine production.

    • J. P. Lewis
    • , D. B. Ryves
    •  & S. Juggins
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tidewater glaciers in fjords can advance/retreat independent of climate due to stabilization by sediments at their termini. We show that an Alaskan paleo-ice stream behaved similarly on an open shelf, suggesting that increased sediment flux may delay catastrophic retreat of outlet glaciers in a warming world.

    • Ellen A. Cowan
    • , Sarah D. Zellers
    •  & Stewart J. Fallon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many major mass extinction events have been associated with large volcanic eruption events, with the argument that large volumes of volcanic degassing could trigger past global climate changes. Here, the authors find that during the end-Triassic extinction event volcanic pulses emitted large amounts of CO2 comparable to projected anthropogenic emissions for the 21st century in the future 2 °C warming scenario.

    • Manfredo Capriolo
    • , Andrea Marzoli
    •  & Csaba Szabó
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the Asian monsoon, earth surface processes and human development interact is not well known. Here, a new record of dust storm intensity shows a relationship between the stability of dynasties and dust storm activity for the last ~2200 years, which argues for a strong human control of dust storms in East Asia over this time.

    • Fahu Chen
    • , Shengqian Chen
    •  & Jianbao Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    What drives hydroclimate changes in tropical regions is not well known. Here, the authors present a 12,000 year long precipitation record from Guetemala which shows that exceeding a threshold in sea surface temperatures caused Central American rainfall to change from a dry to an active convective regime around 9000 years ago.

    • Amos Winter
    • , Davide Zanchettin
    •  & Carla Taricco