Jurassic climate mode governed by ocean gateway
Hesselbo, Stephen P.
Nature Publishing Group
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The Jurassic (~201–145 Myr ago) was long considered a warm ‘greenhouse’ period; more recently cool, even ‘icehouse’ episodes have been postulated. However, the mechanisms governing transition between so-called Warm Modes and Cool Modes are poorly known. Here we present a new large high-quality oxygen-isotope dataset from an interval that includes previously suggested mode transitions. Our results show an especially abrupt earliest Middle Jurassic (~174 Ma) mid-latitude cooling of seawater by as much as 10 °C in the north–south Laurasian Seaway, a marine passage that connected the equatorial Tethys Ocean to the Boreal Sea. Coincidence in timing with large-scale regional lithospheric updoming of the North Sea region is striking, and we hypothesize that northward oceanic heat transport was impeded by uplift, triggering Cool Mode conditions more widely. This extreme climate-mode transition provides a counter-example to other Mesozoic transitions linked to quantitative change in atmospheric greenhouse gas content.
Danish Council for Independent Research – Natural Sciences
Open Access Article
Vol. 6, Article number 10015.