The Miocene: the Future of the Past

Steinthorsdottir, M., Coxall, H. K., de Boer, A. M., Huber, M., Barbolini, N., Bradshaw, C. D., Burls, N. J., Feakins, S. J., Gasson, E., Henderiks, J., Holbourn, A., Kiel, S., Kohn, M. J., Knorr, G., Kürschner, W. M., Lear, C. H., Liebrand, D., Lunt, D. J., Mörs, T., Pearson, P. N., Pound, Matthew, Stoll, H. and Strömberg, C. A. E. (2020) The Miocene: the Future of the Past. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. ISSN 2572-4517 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020PA004037

Abstract

The Miocene epoch (23.03–5.33 Ma) was a time interval of global warmth, relative to today. Continental configurations and mountain topography transitioned towards modern conditions, and many flora and fauna evolved into the same taxa that exist today. Miocene climate was dynamic: long periods of early and late glaciation bracketed a ∼2 Myr greenhouse interval – the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO). Floras, faunas, ice sheets, precipitation, pCO2, and ocean and atmospheric circulation mostly (but not ubiquitously) covaried with these large changes in climate. With higher temperatures and moderately higher pCO2 (∼400–600 ppm), the MCO has been suggested as a particularly appropriate analogue for future climate scenarios, and for assessing the predictive accuracy of numerical climate models – the same models that are used to simulate future climate. Yet, Miocene conditions have proved difficult to reconcile with models. This implies either missing positive feedbacks in the models, a lack of knowledge of past climate forcings, or the need for re‐interpretation of proxies, which might mitigate the model‐data discrepancy. Our understanding of Miocene climatic, biogeochemical, and oceanic changes on broad spatial and temporal scales is still developing. New records documenting the physical, chemical, and biotic aspects of the Earth system are emerging, and together provide a more comprehensive understanding of this important time interval. Here we review the state‐of‐the‐art in Miocene climate, ocean circulation, biogeochemical cycling, ice sheet dynamics, and biotic adaptation research as inferred through proxy observations and modelling studies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Review, The Miocene, Paleo‐climate, Paleo‐environments, Paleo‐biota, Climate modelling
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2021 13:41
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2021 13:41
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45792

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