News FocusAMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION

What Heated Up the Eocene?

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Science  14 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6014, pp. 142-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6014.142-b

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Summary

Fifty-five million years ago, carbon dioxide gushed into the atmosphere over as little as a millennium, acidifying the ocean and scorching the world of the Eocene epoch with a 5˚C greenhouse warming. At least two more progressively weaker "hyperthermals" would strike during the next few million years. So where did all that carbon dioxide come from? The possibilities are expanding, from the sea floor to an ice-free Antarctica. In one presentation, earth systems modelers suggested an ocean source.