Temperature seasonality in the North American continental interior during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum
Abstract. Paleogene greenhouse climate equability has long been a paradox in paleoclimate research. However, recent developments in proxy and modeling methods have suggested that strong seasonality may be a feature of at least some greenhouse Earth periods. Here we present the first multi-proxy record of seasonal temperatures during the Paleogene from paleofloras, paleosol geochemistry, and carbonate clumped isotope thermometry in the Green River Basin (Wyoming, USA). These combined temperature records allow for the reconstruction of past seasonality in the continental interior, which shows that temperatures were warmer in all seasons during the peak Early Eocene Climatic Optimum and that the mean annual range of temperatures was high, similar to the modern value ( ∼ 26 °C). Proxy data and downscaled Eocene regional climate model results suggest amplified seasonality during greenhouse events. Increased seasonality reconstructed for the early Eocene is similar in scope to the higher seasonal range predicted by downscaled climate model ensembles for future high-CO2 emissions scenarios. Overall, these data and model comparisons have substantial implications for understanding greenhouse climates in general, and may be important for predicting future seasonal climate regimes and their impacts in continental regions.