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Orbital forcing, ice-volume and CO2 across the Oligocene-Miocene Transition

Greenop, Rosanna, Sosdian, Sindia M. ORCID:, Henehan, Michael J., Wilson, Paul A., Lear, Caroline H. ORCID: and Foster, Gavin L. 2019. Orbital forcing, ice-volume and CO2 across the Oligocene-Miocene Transition. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 34 (3) , pp. 316-328. 10.1029/2018PA003420

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Paleoclimate records suggest that a rapid major transient Antarctic glaciation occurred across the Oligocene‐Miocene transition (OMT; ca. 23 Ma; ~50 m sea level equivalent in 200‐300 kyrs). Orbital forcing has long been cited as an important factor determining the timing of the OMT glacial event. A similar orbital configuration occurred 1.2 million years prior to the OMT, however, and was not associated with a major climate event, suggesting that additional mechanisms play an important role in ice sheet growth and decay. To improve our understanding of the OMT, we present a boron isotope‐based CO2 record between 22 and 24 Ma. This new record shows that δ11B/CO2 was comparatively stable in the million years prior to the OMT glaciation and decreased by 0.7 ‰ (equivalent to a CO2 increase of ~65 ppm) over ~300 kyrs during the subsequent deglaciation. More data are needed but we propose that the OMT glaciation was triggered by the same forces that initiated sustained Antarctic glaciation at the Eocene‐Oligocene transition; long‐term decline in CO2 to a critical threshold and a superimposed orbital configuration favourable to glaciation (an eccentricity minimum and low‐amplitude obliquity change). When comparing the reconstructed CO2 increase with estimates of δ18Osw during the deglaciation phase of the OMT, we find that the sensitivity of the cryosphere to CO2 forcing is consistent with recent ice sheet modelling studies that incorporate retreat into subglacial basins via ice cliff collapse with modest CO2 increase, with clear implications for future sea level rise.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: Published version uploaded 6 months after publication in line with publisher's policy
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
ISSN: 2572-4517
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 January 2019
Date of Acceptance: 14 January 2019
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 19:45

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