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Title: Pliocene climate and seasonality in North Atlantic shelf seas
Authors: Williams, Mark
Haywood, Alan M.
Harper, Elizabeth M.
Johnson, Andrew L.A.
Knowles, Tanya
Leng, Melanie J.
Lunt, Daniel J.
Okamura, Beth
Taylor, Paul D.
Zalasiewicz, Jan
First Published: 13-Jan-2009
Publisher: The Royal Society
Citation: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2009, 367 (1886), pp. 85-108
Abstract: This paper reviews North Atlantic shelf seas palaeoclimate during the interval 4-3 Ma, prior to and incorporating the ‘mid Pliocene warm period’ (ca 3.29-2.97 Ma). Fossil assemblages and stable isotope data demonstrate northwards extension of subtropical faunas along the coast of the Carolinas-Virginia (Yorktown and Duplin formations) relative to the present day, suggesting a more vigorous Florida Current, with reduced seasonality and warm water extending north of Cape Hatteras(reconstructed annual range for Virginia 12-30°C). This interpretation supports conceptual models of increased meridional heat transport for the Pliocene. Sea temperatures for Florida (Lower Pinecrest Beds) were similar to or slightly cooler (summers 25-27°C) than today, and were probably influenced by seasonal upwelling of cold deep water. Reduced seasonality is also apparent in the Coralline Crag Formation of the southern North Sea, with ostracods suggesting winter sea temperatures of 10°C (modern 4°C). However, estimates from Pliocene bivalves (3.6- 16.6°C) are similar to or cooler than the present day. This ‘mixed’ signal is problematic given warmer seas in the Carolinas-Virginia, and climate model and oceanographic data that show warmer seas in the ‘mid Pliocene’ eastern North Atlantic. This may be because the Coralline Crag Formation was deposited prior to peak ‘mid Pliocene’ warmth.
DOI Link: 10.1098/rsta.2008.0224
ISSN: 1364-503X
Type: Article
Rights: This is the author’s final draft of the paper published as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2009, 367 (1886), pp. 85-108. The final published version is available at, Doi: 10.1098/rsta.2008.0224.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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