Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Clim. Past, 16, 1509–1521, 2020
Clim. Past, 16, 1509–1521, 2020

Research article 20 Aug 2020

Research article | 20 Aug 2020

Elevated CO2, increased leaf-level productivity, and water-use efficiency during the early Miocene

Tammo Reichgelt et al.

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Paleobotanical proxies for early Eocene climates and ecosystems in northern North America from middle to high latitudes
Christopher K. West, David R. Greenwood, Tammo Reichgelt, Alexander J. Lowe, Janelle M. Vachon, and James F. Basinger
Clim. Past, 16, 1387–1410,,, 2020
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Temperature seasonality in the North American continental interior during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum
Ethan G. Hyland, Katharine W. Huntington, Nathan D. Sheldon, and Tammo Reichgelt
Clim. Past, 14, 1391–1404,,, 2018
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Cited articles

Ainsworth, E. A. and Long, S. P.: What have we learned from 15 years of free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2, New Phytol., 165, 351–372, 2005. 
Askin, R. A. and Raine, J. I.: Oligocene and early Miocene terrestrial palynology of the Cape Roberts drillhole CRP-2/2A, Victoria Land Basin, Antarctica, Terra Antartica, 7, 493–501, 2000. 
Bader, M. K.-F., Leuzinger, S., Keel, S. G., Siegwolf, R. T. W., Hagedorn, F., Schleppi, P., and Körner, C.: Central European hardwood trees in a high CO2 future: synthesis of an 8-year forest canopy CO2 enrichment project, J. Ecol., 101, 1509–1519, 2013. 
Bannister, J. M., Conran, J. G., and Lee, D. E.: Lauraceae from rainforest surrounding an early Miocene maar lake, Otago, southern New Zealand, Rev. Palaeobot. Palyno., 178, 13–34, 2012. 
Bar-On, Y. M., Philips, R., and Milo, R.: The biomass distribution on Earth, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 115, 6506–6511, 2018. 
Short summary
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are increasing in the atmosphere. CO2 has a direct fertilization effect on plants, meaning that plants can photosynthesize more and create more biomass under higher atmospheric CO2. This paper outlines the first direct evidence of a carbon fertilization effect on plants in Earth's past from 23 × 106 yr old fossil leaves, when CO2 was higher. This allowed the biosphere to extend into areas that are currently too dry or too cold for forests.