Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth

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Title: Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth
Authors: Klages, JP
Salzmann, U
Bickert, T
Hillenbrand, C-D
Gohl, K
Kuhn, G
Bohaty, S
Tischak, J
Mueller, J
Frederichs, T
Bauersachs, T
Ehrmann, W
Van de Flierdt, T
Simoes Pereira, P
Larter, RD
Lohmann, G
Niezgodzki, I
Uenzelmann-Neben, G
Zundel, M
Spiegel, C
Mark, C
Chew, D
Francis, JE
Nehrke, G
Schwarz, F
Smith, JA
Freudenthal, T
Esper, O
Paelike, H
Ronge, T
Dziadek, R
And the Science Team of Expedition PS104
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The mid -Cretaceous was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years31(Myr)1–5 driven by atmospheric CO2 levels around 1000 ppmv6. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it remains disputed whether polar ice could exist under such environmental conditions. Here we present results from a unique sedimentary sequence recovered from the West Antarctic shelf. This by far southernmost Cretaceous record contains an intact ~3 m-long network of in-situ fossil roots. The roots are embedded in a mudstone matrix bearing diverse pollen and spores, indicative of a temperate lowland rainforest environment at a palaeolatitude of ~82°S during the Turonian–Santonian (92–83 M yr). A climate model simulation shows that the reconstructed temperate climate at this high latitude requires a combination of both atmospheric CO2 contents of 1120–1680 ppmv and a vegetated land surface without major Antarctic glaciation, highlighting the important cooling effect exerted by ice albedo in high-CO2 climate world
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance: 23-Jan-2020
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5
ISSN: 0028-0836
Publisher: Nature Research
Start Page: 81
End Page: 86
Journal / Book Title: Nature
Volume: 580
Copyright Statement: © 2020 Springer-Verlag. The final publication is available at Springer via
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/P019080/1
Keywords: Science Team of Expedition PS104
General Science & Technology
Publication Status: Published
Embargo Date: 2020-10-01
Online Publication Date: 2020-04-01
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering
Grantham Institute for Climate Change