Edinburgh Research Explorer

An astronomically dated record of Earth’s climate and its predictability over the last 66 Million Years

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Thomas Westerhold
  • Norbert Marwan
  • Anna Joy Drury
  • Diederik Liebrand
  • Claudia Agnini
  • Eleni Anagnostou
  • James S. K. Barnet
  • Steven M. Bohaty
  • David De Vleeschouwer
  • Fabio Florindo
  • Thomas Frederichs
  • David A. Hodell
  • Ann E. Holbourn
  • Vittoria Lauretano
  • Kate Littler
  • Lucas J. Lourens
  • Mitchell Lyle
  • Heiko Pälike
  • Ursula Röhl
  • Jun Tian
  • Roy H. Wilkens
  • Paul A. Wilson
  • James C. Zachos

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1387
Issue number6509
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2020


Much of our understanding of Earth’s past climate comes from the measurement of oxygen and carbon isotope variations in deep-sea benthic foraminifera. Yet, long intervals in existing records lack the temporal resolution and age control needed to thoroughly categorize climate states of the Cenozoic era and to study their dynamics. Here, we present a new, highly resolved, astronomically dated, continuous composite of benthic foraminifer isotope records developed in our laboratories. Four climate states—Hothouse, Warmhouse, Coolhouse, Icehouse—are identified on the basis of their distinctive response to astronomical forcing depending on greenhouse gas concentrations and polar ice sheet volume. Statistical analysis of the nonlinear behavior encoded in our record reveals the key role that polar ice volume plays in the predictability of Cenozoic climate dynamics.

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