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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 08 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 08 Apr 2019

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

A new age model for the Pliocene of the Southern North Sea Basin: evidence for asynchronous shifts of marine and terrestrial climate

Emily Dearing Crampton-Flood1,a, Lars J. Noorbergen2, Damian Smits1, R. Christine Boschman1, Timme H. Donders4, Dirk K. Munsterman5, Johan ten Veen5, Francien Peterse1, Lucas Lourens1, and Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté1,3 Emily Dearing Crampton-Flood et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 3Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • 4Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 5TNO-Geological Survey of the Netherlands, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • apresent address: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Abstract. The mid-Pliocene Warm Period (mPWP, 3254–3025 ka) represents the most recent interval in Earth's history where atmospheric CO2 levels were similar to today. The reconstruction of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and modeling studies have shown that global temperatures were 2–4 °C warmer than present. However, detailed reconstructions of marginal seas and/or coastal zones that enable linking climate evolution in the marine realm to that on the continents are lacking. This is in part due to the absence of precise age models for coastal zones, as they are generally dynamic systems with varying sediment and fresh water inputs. Here, we present a multi-proxy record of Pliocene climate change in the coastal Southern North Sea Basin (SNSB) based on the sedimentary record from borehole Hank, the Netherlands. The marginal marine setting of the Hank borehole during the late Pliocene provides an excellent opportunity to correlate marine and terrestrial signals, due to continental sediment input mainly from the proto-Rhine-Meuse river. We improve the existing low-resolution palynology-based age model for the Hank borehole using oxygen stable isotope measurements (δ18O) of the endobenthic foraminifera species Cassidulina laevigata, integrated with biochrono- and seismostratigraphy. Identification of hiatuses and freshwater effects in the record allows us to accurately isolate glacial-interglacial climate signals that can be linked to a reference global benthic δ18O stack. In tandem with the biostratigraphic age control this results in an age framework for the SNSB for the Late Pliocene (~ 3200–2800 ka). Our multi-proxy reconstruction for the mPWP shows a strong agreement between lipid biomarker and palynology-based terrestrial temperature proxies, which suggest a stable climate, 1–2 °C warmer than present. In the marine realm, however, biomarker-based SSTs show a large range of variation (10 °C). Nevertheless, the fluctuation is comparable to other SST records from the North Atlantic and Nordic Seas, suggesting that a common factor, most likely variations in the North Atlantic Current, exerted a strong influence over SSTs in the North Atlantic at this time.

Emily Dearing Crampton-Flood et al.
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Emily Dearing Crampton-Flood et al.
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Short summary
The mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP; 3.3–3.0 million years ago) is thought to be the last geological interval with similar atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations as modern. Further, the mPWP was 2–3 °C warmer than present, making it a good analogue for estimating the effects of future climate change. Here, we construct a new precise age model for the North sea during the mPWP, and provide a detailed reconstruction of terrestrial and marine climate using a multi-proxy approach.
The mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP; 3.3–3.0 million years ago) is thought to be the last...