Greenhouse-Icehouse Climate Transition

Global climate transition are fascinating because their cause is always mysterious but holds secrets of climate dynamics, their interactive driving factors and the associated thresholds. Because we are going through one of them, pushing the Earth System beyond critical thresholds, climate transitions are a focus of increasing scientific interest and controversies.

I am particularly interested in climate transitions in the Paleogene. Some are used as analogues to current warming with interesting and notable differences through the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 56 million years ago §Ma) or the Mid Eocene Climate Optimum (MECO, 41 Ma). To me the most interesting is the long term cooling from Greenhouse State at the Early Eocene Climate Optimum (ca. 53-50 Ma) to the icehouse state reached at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT, 34 Ma) that marks the sudden formation of the Antarctic ice sheet.

The Greenhouse-Icehouse transition holds the key to understanding the cause of Cenozoic cooling and the Carbone cycle but its cause remain unresolved. To we are seeking to know precisely when and how it took place and what was its environmental impacts across the planet.

Ongoing projects

  • Green-Ice (MITI-CNRS 2022)

Past projects

Associated Publications