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Mid-Cretaceous greenhouse climate and opening oceanic gateways: in search for feedbacks between tectonics, climate and oceanography

English title Mid-Cretaceous greenhouse climate and opening oceanic gateways: in search for feedbacks between tectonics, climate and oceanography
Applicant Weissert Helmut
Number 113687
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Geologisches Institut ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.11.2006 - 31.10.2009
Approved amount 156'365.00
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Keywords (8)

Paleoclimate; Paleoceanography; Cretaceous; Greenhouse climate; oceanic gateways; methane; carbon cycle; Angiosperms

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Late Early Cretaceous climate archives contain a fascinating record of repeated greenhouse pulses interrupted by episodes of cool climate sometimes culminating in ice age interludes. Carbon isotope compositions of marine carbonates are used as fingerprints of global carbon cycling.They indicate that one of the most extreme climate perturbations in the early Cretaceous (120 million years ago) coincided with the formation of a Large Igneous Province in the Pacific Ocean. Volcanism is therefore considered as the trigger of C-cycle perturbation and greenhouse climate 120 million years ago. . A prominent negative carbon isotope spike, which precedes this positive carbon isotope pulse, is regarded as a fingerprint of methane burst caused by rapid climate warming. Sudden methane release may have amplified greenhouse climate during up to several hundred thousand years.
In this project we will investigate how or if climate warming caused a destabilization of gas hydrates resulting in a geologically short-lived extreme greenhouse climate. We will investigate how oceans responded to greenhouse warming and if changes in ocean chemistry left their imprint in the climate and ocean archives of the Cretaceous.
We will use classical geological methods and combine them with geochemical tools including the geochemistry of stable carbon isotopes. We will use pollen records for reconstructions of climate during the time of rapid change in the global carbon cycle. Our geological archives are located in the Alps, in the Apennines, in Portugal and in the north Atlantic.
The study will give us new insight in perturbation-response mechanisms of the climate system. It will provide new information on response of the biosphere to major climate change. The study will serve as a “lesson from the past” for our society confronted with a human-made climate change.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
126563 Mid-Cretaceous greenhouse climate - in search for feedbacks between climate and oceanography 01.11.2009 Project funding
126563 Mid-Cretaceous greenhouse climate - in search for feedbacks between climate and oceanography 01.11.2009 Project funding

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