Cenozoic CO2 and Climate Sensitivity

We use the alkenone and other approaches to constrain the evolution of atmospheric CO2 levels in the Cenozoic. We target both the long-term trend and the short-lived events. The goal is to better understand the role CO2 played in Cenozoic climate change, with implications to our future, high-CO2 world. Our current efforts are focused on the Oligocene – Miocene boundary when a short-lived “glaciation” event occurred.

New Fig 5

 The Indo-Pacific Warm Pool during the Neogene

The Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP) is the largest (~7% of the Earth’s surface) and warmest (>28ºC) surface water body on Earth.  Important atmospheric circulations such as the Walker Cell and the Hadley Cell are deeply rooted in this region. Predicting the future of IPWP in a high CO2 world is a priority. We previously showed that warm pool was significantly warmer during the late Miocene – Pliocene. Our ongoing effort is to evaluate the sea surface temperatures of the IPWP during the great warmth of the Neogene, the Middle Miocene Climate Optimum (MMCO).