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Response of Earth system to extreme palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental changes: A multiproxy study of the aftermath of the Toarcian hyperthermal

Project description

Recovery of Earth system in the aftermath of extreme palaeoclimatic changes

The Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE, Early Jurassic) was one of the most extreme hyperthermal events in Earth history, associated with a global carbon cycle perturbation. It was marked by significant changes in marine ecosystems, marine anoxia and widespread burial of organic matter. The aim of the EU-funded RECOVERY project is to reconstruct the palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental evolution in the aftermath of this extreme event and of the feedback mechanisms which allowed the biosphere to recover and return to steady-state conditions. Specifically, the project will follow a multi-proxy approach, combining sedimentological observations, and mineralogical and geochemical analysis. The findings will be crucial to gain a deeper understanding of Earth system dynamics, and hence predict the consequences of current climate change.

Objective

Climate change is currently one of the major challenges for our society. Observations from past time intervals marked by climatic and environmental instabilities are crucial to predict the consequences of current global warming and the feedback mechanisms that would allow the biosphere to return to steady-state conditions. The Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE, Early Jurassic) was one of the most extreme hyperthermal events in Earth history. It is well constrained that volcanic activity triggered the cascade of environmental feedbacks associated to this event, whereas the evolution in the middle–late Toarcian and the recovery phase are still poorly understood. With RECOVERY, I will fill this gap by giving a holistic appraisal of the palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental evolution in the aftermath of the T-OAE and of the feedback mechanisms, which helped the biosphere to recover. RECOVERY will follow a multi-proxy approach combining sedimentological observations, and mineralogical and geochemical analysis to (i) provide a high-resolution carbon isotope stratigraphy and trace carbon cycle dynamics, (ii) reconstruct the palaeoenvironmental conditions and constrain the climate-carbon cycle feedback mechanisms, (iii) evaluate changes in nutrient level and primary productivity, (iv) track the causality link between volcanic activity and environmental changes, (v) constrain continental weathering rates and evaluate the potential impact on global climate. The originality and innovative aspects of RECOVERY builds at the intersection of advanced analytical tools and theoretical concepts to provide an unprecedented comprehensive understanding of the feedback mechanisms implied in Earth system recovery after extreme palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental changes, taking the aftermath of the T-OAE as a case study. RECOVERY will hence provide a crucial backdrop to glimpse our future and the response of Earth system to current climate change.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITE LYON 1 CLAUDE BERNARD
Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
Address
BOULEVARD DU 11 NOVEMBRE 1918 NUM43
69622 Villeurbanne Cedex
France

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Region
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes Rhône
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 184 707,84