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Keywords:

  • benthic stable isotopes;
  • middle to late Miocene;
  • Pacific Ocean;
  • global climate cooling;
  • Miocene climatic optimum;
  • astronomical forcing

After the fairly warm Miocene climate optimum about 17–15 million years ago, Earth's climate began to cool. Holbourn et al. present a new high-resolution record of climate evolution over the middle to late Miocene, from 12.9 to 8.4 million years ago, based on stable isotopes in sedimentary benthic foraminifera in the western Pacific Ocean. They also combined their data with previously published data going back to 16 million years ago from the same location to study the transition from a warmer climate to a cooler one. They focus on the relationship between climate and changes in the eccentricity and obliquity of Earth's orbit around the Sun.