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Ocean carbon storage across the middle Miocene: A new interpretation for the Monterey Event

Sosdian, S. M., Babila, T. L., Greenop, R., Foster, G. L. and Lear, C. H. 2020. Ocean carbon storage across the middle Miocene: A new interpretation for the Monterey Event. Nature Communications 11 , 134. 10.1038/s41467-019-13792-0

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The Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO, 14–17 Ma) was ~3–4 °C warmer than present, similar to estimates for 2100. Coincident with the MCO is the Monterey positive carbon isotope (δ13C) excursion, with oceans more depleted in 12C relative to 13C than any time in the past 50 Myrs. The long-standing Monterey Hypothesis uses this excursion to invoke massive marine organic carbon burial and draw-down of atmospheric CO2 as a cause for the subsequent Miocene Climate Transition and Antarctic glaciation. However, this hypothesis cannot explain the multi-Myr lag between the δ13C excursion and global cooling. We use planktic foraminiferal B/Ca, δ11B, δ13C, and Mg/Ca to reconstruct surface ocean carbonate chemistry and temperature. We propose that the MCO was associated with elevated oceanic dissolved inorganic carbon caused by volcanic degassing, global warming, and sea-level rise. A key negative feedback of this warm climate was the organic carbon burial on drowned continental shelves.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2041-1723
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2019
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2022 11:55

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