Publications by authors named "Bärbel Hönisch"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Past climates inform our future.

Science 2020 11;370(6517)

Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA.

As the world warms, there is a profound need to improve projections of climate change. Although the latest Earth system models offer an unprecedented number of features, fundamental uncertainties continue to cloud our view of the future. Past climates provide the only opportunity to observe how the Earth system responds to high carbon dioxide, underlining a fundamental role for paleoclimatology in constraining future climate change. Here, we review the relevancy of paleoclimate information for climate prediction and discuss the prospects for emerging methodologies to further insights gained from past climates. Advances in proxy methods and interpretations pave the way for the use of past climates for model evaluation-a practice that we argue should be widely adopted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3701DOI Listing
November 2020

The seawater carbon inventory at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 09 14;117(39):24088-24095. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) (55.6 Mya) was a geologically rapid carbon-release event that is considered the closest natural analog to anthropogenic CO emissions. Recent work has used boron-based proxies in planktic foraminifera to characterize the extent of surface-ocean acidification that occurred during the event. However, seawater acidity alone provides an incomplete constraint on the nature and source of carbon release. Here, we apply previously undescribed culture calibrations for the B/Ca proxy in planktic foraminifera and use them to calculate relative changes in seawater-dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration, surmising that Pacific surface-ocean DIC increased by [Formula: see text] µmol/kg during the peak-PETM. Making reasonable assumptions for the pre-PETM oceanic DIC inventory, we provide a fully data-driven estimate of the PETM carbon source. Our reconstruction yields a mean source carbon δC of -10‰ and a mean increase in the oceanic C inventory of +14,900 petagrams of carbon (PgC), pointing to volcanic CO emissions as the main carbon source responsible for PETM warming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2003197117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7533689PMC
September 2020

Early Pleistocene obliquity-scale pCO variability at ~1.5 million years ago.

Paleoceanogr Paleoclimatol 2018 Nov 5;33(11):1270-1291. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA.

In the early Pleistocene, global temperature cycles predominantly varied with ~41-kyr (obliquity-scale) periodicity. Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations likely played a role in these climate cycles; marine sediments provide an indirect geochemical means to estimate early Pleistocene CO. Here we present a boron isotope-based record of continuous high-resolution surface ocean pH and inferred atmospheric CO changes. Our results show that, within a window of time in the early Pleistocene (1.38-1.54 Ma), pCO varied with obliquity, confirming that, analogous to late Pleistocene conditions, the carbon cycle and climate covaried at ~1.5 Ma. Pairing the reconstructed early Pleistocene pCO amplitude (92 ±13 μatm) with a comparably smaller global surface temperature glacial/interglacial amplitude (3.0 ±0.5 K), yields a surface temperature change to CO radiative forcing ratio of ~0.75 (± 0.5) °C/Wm, as compared to the late Pleistocene value of ~1.75 (± 0.6) °C/Wm. This direct comparison of pCO and temperature implicitly incorporates the large ice sheet forcing as an internal feedback and is not directly applicable to future warming. We evaluate this result with a simple climate model, and show that the presumably thinner, though extensive, northern hemisphere ice sheets would increase surface temperature sensitivity to radiative forcing. Thus, the mechanism to dampen actual temperature variability in the early Pleistocene more likely lies with Southern Ocean circulation dynamics or antiphase hemispheric forcing. We also compile this new carbon dioxide record with published Plio-Pleistocene δB records using consistent boundary conditions and explore potential reasons for the discrepancy between Pliocene pCO based on different planktic foraminifera.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018pa003349DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7380090PMC
November 2018

Capturing the global signature of surface ocean acidification during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci 2018 Oct;376(2130)

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.

Geologically abrupt carbon perturbations such as the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, approx. 56 Ma) are the closest geological points of comparison to current anthropogenic carbon emissions. Associated with the rapid carbon release during this event are profound environmental changes in the oceans including warming, deoxygenation and acidification. To evaluate the global extent of surface ocean acidification during the PETM, we present a compilation of new and published surface ocean carbonate chemistry and pH reconstructions from various palaeoceanographic settings. We use boron to calcium ratios (B/Ca) and boron isotopes (δB) in surface- and thermocline-dwelling planktonic foraminifera to reconstruct ocean carbonate chemistry and pH. Our records exhibit a B/Ca reduction of 30-40% and a δB decline of 1.0-1.2‰ coeval with the carbon isotope excursion. The tight coupling between boron proxies and carbon isotope records is consistent with the interpretation that oceanic absorption of the carbon released at the onset of the PETM resulted in widespread surface ocean acidification. The remarkable similarity among records from different ocean regions suggests that the degree of ocean carbonate change was globally near uniform. We attribute the global extent of surface ocean acidification to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during the main phase of the PETM.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Hyperthermals: rapid and extreme global warming in our geological past'.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2017.0072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6127385PMC
October 2018

Episodic release of CO from the high-latitude North Atlantic Ocean during the last 135 kyr.

Nat Commun 2017 02 22;8:14498. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA.

Antarctic ice cores document glacial-interglacial and millennial-scale variability in atmospheric pCO over the past 800 kyr. The ocean, as the largest active carbon reservoir on this timescale, is thought to have played a dominant role in these pCO fluctuations, but it remains unclear how and where in the ocean CO was stored during glaciations and released during (de)glacial millennial-scale climate events. The evolution of surface ocean pCO in key locations can therefore provide important clues for understanding the ocean's role in Pleistocene carbon cycling. Here we present a 135-kyr record of shallow subsurface pCO and nutrient levels from the Norwegian Sea, an area of intense CO uptake from the atmosphere today. Our results suggest that the Norwegian Sea probably acted as a CO source towards the end of Heinrich stadials HS1, HS4 and HS11, and may have contributed to the increase in atmospheric pCO at these times.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5322501PMC
February 2017

Nanometer-Scale Chemistry of a Calcite Biomineralization Template: Implications for Skeletal Composition and Nucleation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 11 28;113(46):12934-12939. Epub 2016 Oct 28.

School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195;

Plankton, corals, and other organisms produce calcium carbonate skeletons that are integral to their survival, form a key component of the global carbon cycle, and record an archive of past oceanographic conditions in their geochemistry. A key aspect of the formation of these biominerals is the interaction between organic templating structures and mineral precipitation processes. Laboratory-based studies have shown that these atomic-scale processes can profoundly influence the architecture and composition of minerals, but their importance in calcifying organisms is poorly understood because it is difficult to measure the chemistry of in vivo biomineral interfaces at spatially relevant scales. Understanding the role of templates in biomineral nucleation, and their importance in skeletal geochemistry requires an integrated, multiscale approach, which can place atom-scale observations of organic-mineral interfaces within a broader structural and geochemical context. Here we map the chemistry of an embedded organic template structure within a carbonate skeleton of the foraminifera Orbulina universa using both atom probe tomography (APT), a 3D chemical imaging technique with Ångström-level spatial resolution, and time-of-flight secondary ionization mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), a 2D chemical imaging technique with submicron resolution. We quantitatively link these observations, revealing that the organic template in O. universa is uniquely enriched in both Na and Mg, and contributes to intraskeletal chemical heterogeneity. Our APT analyses reveal the cation composition of the organic surface, offering evidence to suggest that cations other than Ca, previously considered passive spectator ions in biomineral templating, may be important in defining the energetics of carbonate nucleation on organic templates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1522864113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5135321PMC
November 2016

The geological record of ocean acidification.

Science 2012 Mar;335(6072):1058-63

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.

Ocean acidification may have severe consequences for marine ecosystems; however, assessing its future impact is difficult because laboratory experiments and field observations are limited by their reduced ecologic complexity and sample period, respectively. In contrast, the geological record contains long-term evidence for a variety of global environmental perturbations, including ocean acidification plus their associated biotic responses. We review events exhibiting evidence for elevated atmospheric CO(2), global warming, and ocean acidification over the past ~300 million years of Earth's history, some with contemporaneous extinction or evolutionary turnover among marine calcifiers. Although similarities exist, no past event perfectly parallels future projections in terms of disrupting the balance of ocean carbonate chemistry-a consequence of the unprecedented rapidity of CO(2) release currently taking place.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1208277DOI Listing
March 2012

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration across the mid-Pleistocene transition.

Science 2009 Jun;324(5934):1551-4

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, NY 10964-8000, USA.

The dominant period of Pleistocene glacial cycles changed during the mid-Pleistocene from 40,000 years to 100,000 years, for as yet unknown reasons. Here we present a 2.1-million-year record of sea surface partial pressure of CO2 (Pco2), based on boron isotopes in planktic foraminifer shells, which suggests that the atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 (pco2) was relatively stable before the mid-Pleistocene climate transition. Glacial Pco2 was approximately 31 microatmospheres higher before the transition (more than 1 million years ago), but interglacial Pco2 was similar to that of late Pleistocene interglacial cycles (<450,000 years ago). These estimates are consistent with a close linkage between atmospheric CO2 concentration and global climate, but the lack of a gradual decrease in interglacial Pco2 does not support the suggestion that a long-term drawdown of atmospheric CO2 was the main cause of the climate transition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1171477DOI Listing
June 2009