Impact of global cooling on Early Cretaceous high pCO2 world during the Weissert Event

Liyenne Cavalheiro, Thomas Wagner, Sebastian Steinig, Cinzia Bottini, Wolf Dummann, Onoriode Esegbue, Gabriele Gambacorta, Victor Giraldo-Gómez, Alexander Farnsworth, Sascha Flögel, Peter Hofmann, Daniel J. Lunt, Janet Rethemeyer, Stefano Torricelli, Elisabetta Erba

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Abstract

The Weissert Event ~133 million years ago marked a profound global cooling that punctuated the Early Cretaceous greenhouse. We present modelling, high-resolution bulk organic carbon isotopes and chronostratigraphically calibrated sea surface temperature (SSTs) based on an organic paleothermometer (the TEX86 proxy), which capture the Weissert Event in the semi-enclosed Weddell Sea basin, offshore Antarctica (paleolatitude ~54 °S; paleowater depth ~500 meters). We document a ~3-4 °C drop in SST coinciding with the Weissert cold end, and converge the Weddell Sea data, climate simulations and available worldwide multi-proxy based temperature data towards one unifying solution providing a best-fit between all lines of evidence. The outcome confirms a 3.0 °C ( ±1.7 °C) global mean surface cooling across the Weissert Event, which translates into a ~40% drop in atmospheric pCO2 over a period of ~700 thousand years. Consistent with geologic evidence, this pCO2 drop favoured the potential build-up of local polar ice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5411
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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