Project groups


Project E1.11 (Finger prints of the Gulf Stream intensity in the Cenozoic - a view on continental climate and biodiversity on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean; A. Micheels, V. Mosbrugger, M. Böhme) is funded by the German Research Foundation.

The present-day circulation patterns in the North Atlantic Ocean developed successively during the Cenozoic. The project E1.11 investigates the terrestrial palaeoclimate response in Western Eurasia and North America to a strengthening heat transport in the North Atlantic Ocean. In order to understand the climatic "fingerprints of the Gulf Stream intensity in the Cenozoic", the project focuses on the fossil record as well as on climate modelling sensitivity experiments.

Quantitative climate and plant diversity gradients derived from the palaeobotanical record are reconstructed for the Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, and early to middle Pliocene in order to identify longitudinal anomalies between continental areas of Western Eurasia and North America. Palaeo-precipitation and -temperatures are calculated using the coexistence approach combined with a recently developed calibration procedure. Biodiversity gradients are reconstructed using bioclimatic affinity groups of arboreal taxa. In order to identify causalities related to the development of the Gulf Stream intensity in the Cenozoic, palaeoclimate modelling sensitivity experiments are performed with an earth system model of intermediate complexity. The comparison of model and proxy data improves the interpretation of the patterns obtained from the fossil record. The analysis of the Gulf Stream and its impact on continental climates in past hothouse phases can provide insights in future system changes.


© Felix Portmann


Eronen, J.T., Fortelius, M., Micheels, A., Portmann, F.T., Puolamäki, K. & C.M. and Janis (2012) : Neogene aridification of the Northern Hemisphere. - Geology 40(9): 823-826, doi:10.1130/G33147.1.

Eronen, J.T., Micheels, A. & T. Utescher (2011) : A comparison of estimates of mean annual precipitation from different proxies: a pilot study for the European Neogene. - Evolutionary Ecology Research 13: 851-867.

Grein, M., Oehm, C., Konrad, W., Utescher, T., Kunzmann, L. & A. Roth-Nebelsick (2013) : Atmospheric CO2 from the late Oligocene to early Miocene based on photosynthesis data and fossil leaf characteristics. - Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 374: 41-51.

Portmann, F.T., Döll, P., Eisner, S. & M. Flörke (2013) : Impact of climate change on renewable groundwater resources: assessing the benefits of avoided greenhouse gas emissions using selected CMIP5 climate projections. - Environmental Research Letters 8, 024023.

Quan, C., Han, S., Utescher, T., Zhang, C. & Y.-S. (C.) Liu (2013) : Validation of temperature–precipitation based aridity index: Paleoclimatic implications. - Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 386: 86-95.

Quan, C., Liu, Y.-S. (C.) & T. Utescher (2012) : Eocene monsoon prevalence over China: A paleobotanical perspective. - Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 365-366: 302-311.