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  1. Variability in resource availability is hypothesized to be a significant driver of primate adaptation and evolution, but most paleoclimate proxies cannot recover environmental seasonality on the scale of an individual lifespan. Oxygen isotope compositions (δ 18 O values) sampled at high spatial resolution in the dentitions of modern African primates ( n = 2,352 near weekly measurements from 26 teeth) track concurrent seasonal precipitation, regional climatic patterns, discrete meteorological events, and niche partitioning. We leverage these data to contextualize the first δ 18 O values of two 17 Ma Afropithecus turkanensis individuals from Kalodirr, Kenya, from which we infer variably bimodal wet seasons, supported by rainfall reconstructions in a global Earth system model. Afropithecus ’ δ 18 O fluctuations are intermediate in magnitude between those measured at high resolution in baboons ( Papio spp.) living across a gradient of aridity and modern forest-dwelling chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes verus ). This large-bodied Miocene ape consumed seasonally variable food and water sources enriched in 18 O compared to contemporaneous terrestrial fauna ( n = 66 fossil specimens). Reliance on fallback foods during documented dry seasons potentially contributed to novel dental features long considered adaptations to hard-object feeding. Developmentally informed microsampling recovers greater ecologicalmore »complexity than conventional isotope sampling; the two Miocene apes ( n = 248 near weekly measurements) evince as great a range of seasonal δ 18 O variation as more time-averaged bulk measurements from 101 eastern African Plio-Pleistocene hominins and 42 papionins spanning 4 million y. These results reveal unprecedented environmental histories in primate teeth and suggest a framework for evaluating climate change and primate paleoecology throughout the Cenozoic.« less
  2. The latitudinal temperature gradient is a fundamental state parameter of the climate system tied to the dynamics of heat transport and radiative transfer. Thus, it is a primary target for temperature proxy reconstructions and global climate models. However, reconstructing the latitudinal temperature gradient in past climates remains challenging due to the scarcity of appropriate proxy records and large proxy–model disagreements. Here, we develop methods leveraging an extensive compilation of planktonic foraminifera δ 18 O to reconstruct a continuous record of the latitudinal sea-surface temperature (SST) gradient over the last 95 million years (My). We find that latitudinal SST gradients ranged from 26.5 to 15.3 °C over a mean global SST range of 15.3 to 32.5 °C, with the highest gradients during the coldest intervals of time. From this relationship, we calculate a polar amplification factor (PAF; the ratio of change in >60° S SST to change in global mean SST) of 1.44 ± 0.15. Our results are closer to model predictions than previous proxy-based estimates, primarily because δ 18 O-based high-latitude SST estimates more closely track benthic temperatures, yielding higher gradients. The consistent covariance of δ 18 O values in low- and high-latitude planktonic foraminifera and in benthic foraminifera, across numerous climatemore »states, suggests a fundamental constraint on multiple aspects of the climate system, linking deep-sea temperatures, the latitudinal SST gradient, and global mean SSTs across large changes in atmospheric CO 2 , continental configuration, oceanic gateways, and the extent of continental ice sheets. This implies an important underlying, internally driven predictability of the climate system in vastly different background states.« less
  3. Piecing together the history of carbon (C) perturbation events throughout Earth’s history has provided key insights into how the Earth system responds to abrupt warming. Previous studies, however, focused on short-term warming events that were superimposed on longer-term greenhouse climate states. Here, we present an integrated proxy (C and uranium [U] isotopes and paleo CO 2 ) and multicomponent modeling approach to investigate an abrupt C perturbation and global warming event (∼304 Ma) that occurred during a paleo-glacial state. We report pronounced negative C and U isotopic excursions coincident with a doubling of atmospheric CO 2 partial pressure and a biodiversity nadir. The isotopic excursions can be linked to an injection of ∼9,000 Gt of organic matter–derived C over ∼300 kyr and to near 20% of areal extent of seafloor anoxia. Earth system modeling indicates that widespread anoxic conditions can be linked to enhanced thermocline stratification and increased nutrient fluxes during this global warming within an icehouse.
  4. Abstract. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) has been directly estimated using reconstructions of past climates that are different than today's. A challenge to this approach is that temperature proxies integrate over the timescales of the fast feedback processes (e.g., changes in water vapor, snow, and clouds) that are captured in ECS as well as the slower feedback processes (e.g., changes in ice sheets and ocean circulation) that are not. A way around this issue is to treat the slow feedbacks as climate forcings and independently account for their impact on global temperature. Here we conduct a suite of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) simulations using the Community Earth System Model version 1.2 (CESM1.2) to quantify the forcingand efficacy of land ice sheets (LISs) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) in order to estimate ECS. Our forcing and efficacy quantification adopts the effective radiative forcing (ERF) and adjustment framework and provides a complete accounting for the radiative, topographic, and dynamical impacts of LIS on surface temperatures. ERF and efficacy of LGM LIS are −3.2 W m−2 and 1.1, respectively. The larger-than-unity efficacy is caused by the temperature changes over land and the Northern Hemisphere subtropical oceans which are relatively larger than those in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. The subtropical sea-surface temperature (SST) response ismore »linked to LIS-induced wind changes and feedbacks in ocean–atmosphere coupling and clouds. ERF and efficacy of LGM GHG are −2.8 W m−2 and 0.9, respectively. The lower efficacy is primarily attributed to a smaller cloud feedback at colder temperatures. Our simulations further demonstrate that the direct ECS calculation using the forcing, efficacy, and temperature response in CESM1.2 overestimates the true value in the model by approximately 25 % due to the neglect of slow ocean dynamical feedback. This is supported by the greater cooling (6.8 ∘C) in a fully coupled LGM simulation than that (5.3 ∘C) in a slab ocean model simulation with ocean dynamics disabled. The majority (67 %) of the ocean dynamical feedback is attributed to dynamical changes in the Southern Ocean, where interactions between upper-ocean stratification, heat transport, and sea-ice cover are found to amplify the LGM cooling. Our study demonstrates the value of climate models in the quantification of climate forcings and the ocean dynamical feedback, which is necessary for an accurate direct ECS estimation.« less
  5. Abstract

    The widening of the South Atlantic Basin led to the reorganization of regional atmospheric and oceanic circulations. However, the response of the Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and South American and African monsoons across paleoclimate states, especially under constant paleogeographic and climatic changes, has not been well understood. Here we report on paleoclimate simulations of the Cenomanian (∼95 Ma), early Eocene (∼55 Ma), and middle Miocene (∼14 Ma) using the Community Earth System Model version 1.2 to understand how the migration of the South American and African continents to their modern‐day positions, uplift of the Andes and East African Rift Zone, and the decline of atmospheric CO2changed the Atlantic ITCZ, and the South American and African monsoons and rainforests. Our work demonstrates that the South Atlantic widening developed the Atlantic ITCZ. The South Atlantic widening and Andean orogeny led to a stronger South American monsoon. We find the orogeny of the East African Rift Zone is the primary mechanism that strengthened the East African monsoon, whereas the West African monsoon became weaker through time as West Africa migrated toward the subtropics and CO2levels fell below 500 ppm. We utilize the Köppen‐Geiger Climate Classification as an indicator for maximum rainforest extent. We findmore »that during the Cenomanian and early Eocene, a Pan‐African rainforest existed, while the Amazon rainforest was restricted toward the northwestern corner of South America. During the middle Miocene, the Pan‐African rainforest was reduced to near its modern‐day size, while the Amazon rainforest expanded eastward.

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  6. The distribution of forest cover alters Earth surface mass and energy exchange and is controlled by physiology, which determines plant environmental limits. Ancient plant physiology, therefore, likely affected vegetation-climate feedbacks. We combine climate modeling and ecosystem-process modeling to simulate arboreal vegetation in the late Paleozoic ice age. Using GENESIS V3 global climate model simulations, varyingpCO2,pO2, and ice extent for the Pennsylvanian, and fossil-derived leaf C:N, maximum stomatal conductance, and specific conductivity for several major Carboniferous plant groups, we simulated global ecosystem processes at a 2° resolution withPaleo-BGC. Based on leaf water constraints, Pangaea could have supported widespread arboreal plant growth and forest cover. However, these models do not account for the impacts of freezing on plants. According to our interpretation, freezing would have affected plants in 59% of unglaciated land during peak glacial periods and 73% during interglacials, when more high-latitude land was unglaciated. Comparing forest cover, minimum temperatures, and paleo-locations of Pennsylvanian-aged plant fossils from the Paleobiology Database supports restriction of forest extent due to freezing. Many genera were limited to unglaciated land where temperatures remained above −4 °C. Freeze-intolerance of Pennsylvanian arboreal vegetation had the potential to alter surface runoff, silicate weathering, CO2levels, and climate forcing. As amore »bounding case, we assume total plant mortality at −4 °C and estimate that contracting forest cover increased net global surface runoff by up to 6.1%. Repeated freezing likely influenced freeze- and drought-tolerance evolution in lineages like the coniferophytes, which became increasingly dominant in the Permian and early Mesozoic.

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