Climate model and proxy data constraints on ocean warming across the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Tom Dunkley-Jones, Daniel J. Lunt, Daniela N. Schmidt, Andy Ridgwell, Appy Sluijs, Paul J. Valdes, Mark Maslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)
373 Downloads (Pure)


Constraining the greenhouse gas forcing, climatic warming and estimates of climate sensitivity across ancient large transient warming events is a major challenge to the palaeoclimate research community. Here we provide a new compilation and synthesis of the available marine proxy temperature data across the largest of these hyperthermals, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). This includes the application of consistent temperature calibrations to all data, including the most recent set of calibrations for archaeal lipid-derived palaeothermometry. This compilation provides the basis for an informed discussion of the likely range of PETM warming, the biases present in the existing record and an initial assessment of the geographical pattern of PETM ocean warming. To aid interpretation of the geographic variability of the proxy-derived estimates of PETM warming, we present a comparison of this data with the patterns of warming produced by high pCO2 simulations of Eocene climates using the Hadley Centre atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) HadCM3L. On the basis of this comparison and taking into account the patterns of intermediate-water warming we estimate that the global mean surface temperature anomaly for the PETM is within the range of 4 to 5 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-145
JournalEarth Science Reviews
Early online date20 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Paleocene
  • Eocene
  • PETM
  • Warming
  • Climate


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate model and proxy data constraints on ocean warming across the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this