Tropical sea temperatures in the high-latitude South Pacific during the Eocene
Sea-surface temperature (SST) estimates of ~30 °C from planktic foraminifera and archaeal membrane lipids in bathyal sediments in the Canterbury Basin, New Zealand, support paleontological evidence for a warm subtropical to tropical climate in the early Eocene high-latitude (55°S) southwest Pacific. Such warm SSTs call into question previous estimates based on oxygen isotopes and present a major challenge to climate modelers. Even under hypergreenhouse conditions (2240 ppm CO2), modeled summer SSTs for the New Zealand region do not exceed 20 °C.
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Hollis, Christopher J.; Handley, Like; Crouch, Erica M.; Morgans, Hugh E. G.; Baker, Joel A.; Creech, John; Collins, Katie S.; Gibbs, Samantha J.; Huber, Matthew; Schouten, Stefan; and Zachos, James C., "Tropical sea temperatures in the high-latitude South Pacific during the Eocene" (2009). Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Faculty Publications. Paper 56.
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