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Methane and Environmental Change during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM): Modeling the PETM Onset as a Two-stage EventAn atmospheric CH4 box model coupled to a global carbon cycle box model is used to constrain the carbon emission associated with the PETM and assess the role of CH4 during this event. A range of atmospheric and oceanic emission scenarios representing different amounts, rates, and isotopic signatures of emitted carbon are used to model the PETM onset. The first 3 kyr of the onset, a pre-isotope excursion stage, is simulated by the atmospheric release of 900 to 1100 Pg C CH4 with a delta C-13 of -22 to - 30 %. For a global average warming of 3 deg C, a release of CO2 to the ocean and CH4 to the atmosphere totalling 900 to 1400 Pg C, with a delta C-13 of -50 to -60%, simulates the subsequent 1 -kyr isotope excursion stage. To explain the observations, the carbon must have been released over at most 500 years. The first stage results cannot be associated with any known PETM hypothesis. However, the second stage results are consistent with a methane hydrate source. More than a single source of carbon is required to explain the PETM onset.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Carozza, David A. (McGill Univ. Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Mysak, Lawrence A. (McGill Univ. Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Schmidt, Gavin A. (NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2011
Publication Information
Publication: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 38
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits