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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-76
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Jul 2018

Research article | 09 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Middle Miocene climate of southwestern Anatolia from multiple botanical proxies

Johannes M. Bouchal1,2, Tuncay H. Güner3, and Thomas Denk1 Johannes M. Bouchal et al.
  • 1Department of Palaeobiology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, 10405 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Department of Palaeontology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • 3Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Botany, Istanbul University, 34473 Bahceköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Abstract. The middle Miocene climate transition (MMCT) was a phase of global cooling possibly linked to decreasing levels of atmospheric CO2. The MMCT coincided with the European Mammal Faunal Zone MN6. From this time, important biogeographic links between Anatolia and eastern Africa include the hominid Kenyapithecus. Vertebrate fossils suggested mixed open and forested landscapes under (sub)tropical seasonal climates for Anatolia. Here, we infer the palaeoclimate during the MMCT and the succeeding cooling phase for a middle Miocene (14.8–13.2Ma) of an intramontane basin in southwestern Anatolia using three palaeobotanical proxies: (i) Köppen signatures based on the nearest-living-relative principle. (ii) Leaf physiognomy analysed with the Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP). (iii) Genus-level biogeographic affinities of fossil floras with modern regions. The three proxies reject tropical climates for the MMCT of southwestern Anatolia and instead infer warm temperate C climates. Köppen signatures reject summer-dry Cs climates but cannot discriminate between fully humid Cf and winter-dry Cw; CLAMP reconstructs Cf climate based on the low X3.wet/X3.dry ratio. Additionally, we assess whether the palaeobotanical record does resolve transitions from the warm Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO, 16.8–14.7Ma) into the MMCT (14.7–13.9Ma), and a more pronounced cooling at 13.9–13.8Ma, as reconstructed from benthic stable isotope data. For southwestern Anatolia, we find that arboreal taxa predominate in MCO floras (MN5), whereas in MMCT floras (MN6) abundances of arboreal and non-arboreal elements strongly fluctuate indicating higher structural complexity of the vegetation. Our data show a distinct pollen zone between MN6 and MN7+8 dominated by herbaceous taxa. The boundary MN6 and MN7+8, roughly corresponding to a first abrupt cooling at 13.9–13.8Ma, possibly might be associated with this herb-rich pollen zone.

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