EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Clumped isotope evidence for polar warmth and reduced salinity during the Early Jurassic

Thomas Letulle1, Guillaume Suan1, Mikhail Rogov2, Mathieu Daëron3, Arnauld Vinçon-Laugier1, Bruno Reynard1, Gilles Montagnac1, and Christophe Lécuyer1
Thomas Letulle et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, CNRS UMR 5276, Univ de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, ENS Lyon, Lyon, France
  • 2Geological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Greenhouse climates are periods characterized by high atmospheric CO2 levels and the absence of large continental icecaps, conditions that define most of the Phanerozoic eon. Fossil record and proxy data from the Cretaceous-Early Paleogene (145-33 My) greenhouse interval suggest increased polar warmth and reduced latitudinal gradient. Such features are challenging for most climate models. They imply either misinterpretation of paleoenvironmental data or an underestimation of climate sensitivity under greenhouse climate. Here we present a new record from polar (>80°) paleolatitudes of the Early Jurassic (~180My) global warming episode known as the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. Carbonate clumped isotope (Δ47) thermometry and stable isotope analyses (δ18Oc, δ13C) were performed on pristine aragonite bivalve shells from the Polovinnaya River succession (N Siberia) recording exceptionally low burial. Reconstructed growing season temperatures of 9.7±5.2 to 19.0±3.4 °C and water δ18Ow values of −4.6±1.2 to −2.2±0.8‰VSMOW imply increased warmth and significant freshwater contribution in the Toarcian Arctic seas, in line with coeval Siberian paleobotanical data. The unusually low δ18Ow values confirm the incorrectness of assuming a spatially uniform δ18Osw value for calculation of δ18O-derived paleotemperatures. The inferred Early Jurassic polar sea surface temperatures are in good agreement with independent high latitude proxy data from Cretaceous and Eocene warming events. Together with coeval sea surface temperatures data from the western Tethys Ocean, our new data suggest a strong reduction of latitudinal temperature gradients during the Toarcian relative to modern gradients. The reconstructed polar warmth and reduction in latitudinal temperature gradient are substantially higher than those simulated by most climate models of the Jurassic to Eocene greenhouse periods, and support the increasing amount of data and models indicating an increase of climate sensitivity with CO2 levels. Our results bring critical new constraints for model simulations of Jurassic temperatures and δ18Osw values and suggest that high climate sensitivity is the hallmark of greenhouse climates since at least 180 My.

How to cite: Letulle, T., Suan, G., Rogov, M., Daëron, M., Vinçon-Laugier, A., Reynard, B., Montagnac, G., and Lécuyer, C.: Clumped isotope evidence for polar warmth and reduced salinity during the Early Jurassic, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14318,, 2021.