I study atmospheric and oceanic dynamics in various paleoclimates. Currently I am working on the following intervals:
The mid-Pliocene Warm Period
The mid-Pliocene Warm Period (mPWP, ~3—3.3 Million years ago) was the most recent time period during which the globally averaged temperature was higher than present for an extended period of time. The world didn’t look very different from the present day (as shown below) because on such short time scales plate tectonics does not have any noticeably influence.
The figure below shows an interpretation by de Boer et al. 2010 of the mean NH continental temperature anomaly for the last 40 million years. Considering this as a proxy for the global mean temperature, we see that going back in time (right to left) the mPWP was the most recent interval during which the globally averaged temperatures were warmer than present for a sustained period of time.
Our investigation into the climate of the time period through numerical modelling using state-of-the-art climate models reveals the following picture of the warming that might have prevailed during this time. The figure shows the temperature anomaly with respect to the climate at the start of the Industrial Revolution (1850 CE). The widespread warming is very apparent.