GRL: Resolving long-term variations in North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity using a pseudo proxy paleotempestology network approach

Elizabeth J. Wallace, Sylvia G. Dee, and Kerry A. Emanuel

Geophysical Research Letters (2021) e2021GL094891.

doi: 10.1029/2021GL094891


Paleohurricane reconstructions extend the observational record of tropical cyclones back thousands of years. However, these records are subject to biases – capturing only close-moving intense storms at varying resolutions. We devise two pseudo proxy networks drawing from the full suite of published paleohurricane studies in the North Atlantic. We run synthetic storms forced with two global climate model simulations of the past millennium through each pseudo network to assess the theoretical skill of paleohurricane proxies at capturing low frequency variability in North Atlantic basin-wide and intrabasin tropical cyclones. We find that basin-wide and paleohurricane compiled tropical cyclone counts are significantly correlated with one another for the past millennium on annual to multi-decadal timescales, but compilation skill is limited by proxy temporal resolution. Current paleohurricane proxy networks predominantly capture storms moving in the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico. Increasing the quantity of paleohurricane records from the North American coastline substantially improves reconstruction skill.


Earth-Science Reviews: Cognate versus xenocrystic olivines in kimberlites – A review

Authors: Andy Moore, Gelu Costin, Alexander Proyer


Models for a xenocryst origin for kimberlite olivines emphasise the similarity between their core compositions and those in mantle peridotites. While this permits a xenocryst origin, it does not provide proof, as magmas generated in equilibrium with mantle olivines could, in principle, crystallize initial olivines matching those in the source region. Further, in several kimberlites, there is a striking disparity between the compositional range of olivine cores and that in associated mantle peridotite xenoliths from the same locality. Olivine-liquid Mg-Fe exchange coefficients and Ni partition coefficients permit equilibrium between Mg-rich mantle olivines (Mg# ~ 94–93) and magmas matching kimberlite bulk rock compositions. Glass inclusions in olivine megacrysts from the Monastery kimberlite, with compositions which overlap the range of archetypal Group I kimberlites, were interpreted to represent original liquids trapped at pressures of 4.5–6 GPa. These glass inclusions provide direct petrographic support for primitive melts matching kimberlite bulk chemistry in the lower SCLM.

A majority of kimberlitic olivines show normal (decreasing Mg#) core to rim zonation. Cores of normal-zoned kimberlitic olivines are typically homogeneous, but collectively define a field with a range in Mg # and invariant or slightly decreasing Ni towards more Fe-rich compositions. The most Mg-rich cores of normal-zoned olivines typically have Mg# in the range 94–93, but there are marked differences in the Fe-rich extreme of the normal-zoned population between different kimberlite clusters. Olivine rims typically define a field characterized by steeply decreasing Ni, coupled with invariant or slightly increasing or decreasing Mg#, which invariably overlaps the Fe-extreme of core compositions of the relatively Mg-rich, normal-zoned olivines. Consequently, while there is a sharp inflection in chemical gradient between the respective fields of cores and rims, they nevertheless define a continuous compositional field. Trace element modelling demonstrates that these zonation patterns can be explained in terms of a Raleigh crystallization model.

Most, if not all kimberlites are characterized by a subordinate group of olivine macrocrysts with cores that are Fe-rich relative to the field for rims, and thus show reverse zonation, which are interpreted to be linked to the Cr-poor megacryst suite. Rare Mg-rich olivines (relative to rims), have high-pressure inclusions of garnet, clinopyroxene and orthopyroxene. When present, such inclusions often show disequilibrium features such as internal chemical zonation. This points to a very short mantle residence time prior to entrainment by the host kimberlite, indicating a link to the Cr-rich megacryst suite rather than mantle peridotites. In addition to a variable, but generally subordinate proportion of olivines derived from Cr-poor and Cr-rich megacrysts, xenocrysts derived from disaggregated mantle peridotites will undoubtedly be present. While their proportions are difficult to quantify, the collective evidence points to a cognate origin for a majority of kimberlitic olivines. A kimberlite magma ascent model is proposed which provides a framework for understanding both olivine compositional variation and apparently enigmatic internal and external olivine morphology.

Moore, A.,  Costin, G., and Proyer, A. (2021): Cognate versus xenocrystic olivines in kimberlites – A review. Earth-Science Reviews, 103771, ISSN 0012-8252,

EPSL: The effect of carbon concentration on its core-mantle partitioning behavior in inner Solar System rocky bodies

Authors: Damanveer S. Grewal, Rajdeep Dasgupta, Sanath Aithala


Partitioning of carbon (C) into the cores of rocky protoplanets and planets is one of the primary causes of its depletion in their bulk silicate reservoirs. Most of the experimental studies that determined the alloy to silicate melt partition coefficient of carbon (DCalloy/silicate) have been conducted in graphite-saturated conditions. Because carbon is a minor element in all known protoplanetary and planetary cores, it is not known whether graphite-saturated DCalloy/silicate values are applicable to core-mantle differentiation in rocky bodies which likely occurred in C-poor conditions. In this study we experimentally determined DCalloy/silicate in MgO capsules with variable bulk C contents between oxygen fugacity (fO2) of IW–6.35 and IW–2.59 at a fixed P (3 GPa)-T (1700 °C). A mafic-ultramafic (NBO/T = 1.23-1.72) and mildly hydrous (bulk H = 44-161 ppm) nature of the silicate melts caused anhydrous C species (CO32− + CO) to dominate over a wider fO2 range (>IW–4.2) in comparison to previous studies. This resulted in an increase in DCalloy/silicate with decreasing fO2 from IW–2.6 to IW–4.2 followed by a drop at more reduced conditions due to the formation of C-H species. Importantly, DCalloy/silicate increases with increasing bulk C content of the system at a given fO2. Partitioning of C between alloy and silicate melts follows non-Henrian behavior (i.e., it depends on bulk C content) because the activity coefficient of C in the alloy melt (γCalloymelt) varies with C content in the alloy. Therefore, in addition to other intensive (PTfO2) and extensive variables (alloy and silicate melt compositions), DCalloy/silicate also depends on the bulk C content available during core-mantle differentiation. Consequently, previously determined DCalloy/silicate for C-rich alloys are not directly applicable for core-mantle differentiation in relatively C-poor magma oceans (MOs). Because the experiments from the present study more realistically simulate C-poor cores and mildly hydrous, mafic-ultramafic silicate MOs, our data can be used to more accurately predict C fractionation between MOs and cores in inner Solar System rocky bodies. Our study suggests that closed system MO-core equilibration should have led to less severe depletion of C in the silicate reservoirs of inner Solar System rocky bodies than previously predicted.

    The Astrophysical Journal: The effect of a strong pressure bump in the Sun’s natal disk: Terrestrial planet formation via planetesimal accretion rather than pebble accretion

    The effect of a strong pressure bump in the Sun’s natal disk: Terrestrial planet formation via planetesimal accretion rather than pebble accretion

    André Izidoro, Bertram Bitsch, Rajdeep Dasgupta


    Mass-independent isotopic anomalies of carbonaceous and noncarbonaceous meteorites show a clear dichotomy suggesting an efficient separation of the inner and outer solar system. Observations show that ring-like structures in the distribution of millimeter-sized pebbles in protoplanetary disks are common. These structures are often associated with drifting pebbles being trapped by local pressure maxima in the gas disk. Similar structures may also have existed in the Sun’s natal disk, which could naturally explain the meteorite/planetary isotopic dichotomy. Here, we test the effects of a strong pressure bump in the outer disk (e.g., ~5 au) on the formation of the inner solar system. We model dust coagulation and evolution, planetesimal formation, as well as embryo growth via planetesimal and pebble accretion. Our results show that terrestrial embryos formed via planetesimal accretion rather than pebble accretion. In our model, the radial drift of pebbles fosters planetesimal formation. However, once a pressure bump forms, pebbles in the inner disk are lost via drift before they can be efficiently accreted by embryos growing at gap1 au. Embryos inside ~0.5–1.0 au grow relatively faster and can accrete pebbles more efficiently. However, these same embryos grow to larger masses so they should migrate inwards substantially, which is inconsistent with the current solar system. Therefore, terrestrial planets most likely accreted from giant impacts of Moon to roughly Mars-mass planetary embryos formed around gap1.0 au. Finally, our simulations produce a steep radial mass distribution of planetesimals in the terrestrial region, which is qualitatively aligned with formation models suggesting that the asteroid belt was born low mass.


    Izidoro, A., Bitsch, B. & Dasgupta, R. (2021). The effect of a strong pressure bump in the Sun’s natal disk: Terrestrial planet formation via planetesimal accretion rather than pebble accretion. The Astrophysical Journal 915, 62. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abfe0b

    JGR Atmospheres: Effects of ozone isotopologue formation on the clumped-isotope composition of atmospheric O2

    Laurence Y. Yeung, Lee T. Murray, Asmita Banerjee, Xin Tie, Yuzhen Yan, Elliot L. Atlas, Sue M. Schuaffler, and Kristie A. Boering

    doi: 10.1029/2021JD034770


    Tropospheric 18O18O is an emerging proxy for past tropospheric ozone and free-tropospheric temperatures. The basis of these applications is the idea that isotope-exchange reactions in the atmosphere drive 18O18O abundances toward isotopic equilibrium. However, previous work used an offline box-model framework to explain the 18O18O budget, approximating the interplay of atmospheric chemistry and transport. This approach, while convenient, has poorly characterized uncertainties. To investigate these uncertainties, and to broaden the applicability of the 18O18O proxy, we developed a scheme to simulate atmospheric 18O18O abundances (quantified as ∆36 values) online within the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model. These results are compared to both new and previously published atmospheric observations from the surface to 33 km. Simulations using a simplified O2 isotopic equilibration scheme within GEOS-Chem show quantitative agreement with measurements only in the middle stratosphere; modeled ∆36 values are too high elsewhere. Investigations using a comprehensive model of the O-O2-O3 isotopic photochemical system and proof-of-principle experiments suggest that the simple equilibration scheme omits an important pressure dependence to ∆36 values: the anomalously efficient titration of 18O18O to form ozone. Incorporating these effects into the online ∆36 calculation scheme in GEOS-Chem yields quantitative agreement for all available observations. While this previously unidentified bias affects the atmospheric budget of 18O18O in O2, the modeled change in the mean tropospheric ∆36 value since 1850 C.E. is only slightly altered; it is still quantitatively consistent with the ice-core ∆36 record, implying that the tropospheric ozone burden increased less than ∼40% over the twentieth century.

    Plain-language summary

    Oxygen in the air is constantly being broken apart and remade. Its constituent atoms are shuffled around by light-induced chemical reactions, which cause changes in the number of heavy oxygen atoms that are bound together. The number of these heavy-atom “clumps” is sensitive to air temperatures and the presence of air pollution; hence, their variations are being used to understand past high-altitude temperatures and atmospheric chemistry. This study incorporates oxygen clumping into an atmospheric chemistry model and compares the results to measurements of oxygen clumping in the atmosphere. We find that the model can explain all the modern-day measurements (from the surface to 33 km altitude), but only if the broader fates of oxygen atoms―i.e., their incorporation into other molecules beyond O2―are considered. Simulations of the preindustrial atmosphere are also generally consistent with snapshots of the ancient atmosphere obtained from O2 trapped in ice cores. The developments described herein will thus enable models to simulate heavy oxygen-atom clumping in past cold and warm climates and enable simulated high-altitude atmospheric changes to be evaluated directly against ice-core snapshots of the ancient atmosphere.

    IEEE TPDS: Planetary Normal Mode Computation: Parallel Algorithms, Performance, and Reproducibility

    Shi, J., Li, R., Xi, Y., Saad, Y. and de Hoop, M. V., 2021. Planetary normal mode computation: Parallel algorithms, performance, and reproducibility. IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems32(11), pp.2609-2622.


    Notes: This article has been awarded a “Results Reproduced (ROR-R)” badge.



    This article is an extension of work entitled “Computing planetary interior normal modes with a highly parallel polynomial filtering eigensolver.” by Shi et al., originally presented at the SC18 conference. A highly parallel polynomial filtered eigensolver was developed and exploited to calculate the planetary normal modes. The proposed method is ideally suited for computing interior eigenpairs for large-scale eigenvalue problems as it greatly enhances memory and computational efficiency. In this article, the second-order finite element method is used to further improve the accuracy as only the first-order finite element method was deployed in the previous work. The parallel algorithm, its parallel performance up to 20k processors, and the great computational accuracy are illustrated. The reproducibility of the previous work was successfully performed on the Student Cluster Competition at the SC19 conference by several participant teams using a completely different Mars-model dataset on different clusters. Both weak and strong scaling performances of the reproducibility by the participant teams were impressive and encouraging. The analysis and reflection of their results are demonstrated and future direction is discussed.

    Sedimentology: Timescale dependent sedimentary record during the past 130 kyr from a tropical mixed siliciclastic–carbonate shelf edge and slope: Ashmore Trough (southern Gulf of Papua)

    Authors: Gianni Mallarino, Jason M. Francis, Stephan J. Jorry, James J. Daniell, André W. Droxler, Gerald R. Dickens, Luc Beaufort, Samuel J. Bentley, Bradley N. Opdyke, Larry C. Peterson

    Abstract: In tropical and sub‐tropical mixed siliciclastic–carbonate depositional systems, fluvial input and in situ neritic carbonate interact over space and time. Despite being the subject of many studies, controls on partitioning of mixed sediments remains controversial. Mixed sedimentary records, from Ashmore Trough shelf edge and slopes (southern Gulf of Papua), are coupled with global sea‐level curves and anchored to Marine Isotope Stage stratigraphy to constrain models of sediment accumulation at two different timescales for the past 130 kyr: (i) 100 kyr scale for last glacial cycle; and (ii) millennial scale for last deglaciation. During the last glacial cycle, carbonate production and accumulation were primarily controlled by sea‐level fluctuations. Export of neritic carbonate to the slopes was initiated during re‐flooding of previously exposed reefs and continued during Marine Isotope Stage 5e and 1 interglacial sea‐level highs. Siliciclastic fluxes to the slope were controlled by interplay of sea level, shelf physiography and oceanic currents. Heterogeneous accumulation of siliciclastic mud on the slope, took place during Marine Isotope Stage 5d to Marine Isotope Stage 3 sea‐level fall. Siliciclastics reached adjacent depocentres during Marine Isotope Stage 2. Coralgal reef and oolitic–skeletal sand resumed at the shelf edge during the subsequent stepwise sea‐level rise of the last deglaciation. Contemporaneous, abrupt siliciclastic input from increased precipitation and fluvial discharge illustrates that climate controlled deglacial sedimentation. Siliciclastic input persisted until ca 8.5 ka. Carbonate accumulation waned at the shelf edge after ca 14 ka, whereas it increased on the slopes since ca 11.5 ka, when previously exposed reef and bank tops were re‐flooded. When comparing the last sea‐level cycle sedimentation patterns of the southern Gulf of Papua with other coeval mixed systems, sea level and shelf physiography emerge as primary controls on deposition at the 100 kyr scale. At the millennial scale, siliciclastic input was also controlled by climate change during the unstable atmospheric and oceanic conditions of the last deglaciation.

    First published: 16 March 2021

    Nature Geoscience: Rates of protoplanetary accretion and differentiation set nitrogen budget of rocky planets

    Authors: Damanveer S. Grewal, Rajdeep Dasgupta, Taylor Hough, Alexandra Farnell

    Abstract: The effect of protoplanetary differentiation on the fate of life-essential volatiles like nitrogen and carbon and its subsequent effect on the dynamics of planetary growth is unknown. Because the dissolution of nitrogen in magma oceans depends on its partial pressure and oxygen fugacity, it is an ideal proxy to track volatile re-distribution in protoplanets as a function of their sizes and growth zones. Using high pressure-temperature experiments in graphite-undersaturated conditions, here we show that the siderophile (iron-loving) character of nitrogen is an order of magnitude higher than previous estimates across a wide range of oxygen fugacity. The experimental data combined with metal-silicate-atmosphere fractionation models suggest that asteroid-sized protoplanets, and planetary embryos that grew from them, were nitrogen-depleted. However, protoplanets that grew to planetary embryo-size before undergoing differentiation had nitrogen-rich cores and nitrogen-poor silicate reservoirs. Bulk silicate reservoirs of large Earth-like planets attained nitrogen from the cores of latter type of planetary embryos. Therefore, to satisfy the volatile budgets of Earth-like planets during the main stage of their growth, the timescales of planetary embryo accretion had to be shorter than their differentiation timescales, i.e., Moon- to Mars-sized planetary embryos grew rapidly within ~1-2 Myrs of the Solar System’s formation.

    Grewal, D.S., Dasgupta, R., Hough, T. et al. Rates of protoplanetary accretion and differentiation set nitrogen budget of rocky planets. Nat. Geosci. (2021).

    Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology: Size‐fraction‐specific stable isotope variations as a framework for interpreting early Eocene bulk sediment carbon isotope records

    Carbon isotope (δ13C) records from marine sediments have been extensively used in Cenozoic chemostratigraphy. The early Paleogene interval in particular has received exceptional attention because negative carbon isotope excursions (CIEs) documented in the sedimentary record, e.g. at the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), ca ∼56 Ma, are believed to reflect significant global carbon‐cycle perturbations during the warmest interval of the Cenozoic era. However, while bulk carbonate δ13C values exhibit robust correlations across widely separated marine sedimentary basins, their absolute values and magnitude of CIEs vary spatially. Moreover, bulk carbonates in open‐marine environments are an ensemble of different components, each with a distinct isotope composition. Consequently, a comprehensive interpretation of bulk‐δ13C record requires an understanding of co‐evolution of these components. In this study, we dissect sediments, from early Paleogene interval, at ODP Site 1209 (Shatsky Rise, Pacific Ocean) to investigate how a temporally varying bulk carbonate ensemble influences the overall carbon isotope record. A set of 45 samples were examined for δ13C and δ18O compositions, as bulk and individual size fractions. We find a significant increase in coarse‐fraction abundance across PETM, driven by a changing community structure of calcifiers, modulating the size of CIE at Site 1209 and thus making it distinct from those recorded at other open‐marine sites. These results highlight the importance of biogeography in marine stable‐isotope record, especially when isotope excursions are driven by climate‐ and/or carbon‐cycle changes. In addition, community composition changes will alter the interpretation of weight percent coarse fraction as conventional proxy for carbonate dissolution.

    JGR: Source-to-Sink Terrestrial Analogs for the Paleoenvironment of Gale Crater, Mars

    Michael T. Thorpe, Joel A. Hurowitz, and Kirsten L. Siebach

    doi: 10.1029/2020JE006530


    In the Late Noachian to Early Hesperian period, rivers transported detritus from igneous source terrains to a downstream lake within Gale crater, creating a stratified stack of fluviolacustrine rocks that is currently exposed along the slopes of Mount Sharp. Controversy exists regarding the paleoclimate that supported overland flow of liquid water at Gale crater, in large part because little is known about how chemical and mineralogical paleoclimate indicators from mafic‐rock dominated source‐to‐sink systems are translated into the rock record. Here, we compile data from basaltic terrains with varying climates on Earth in order to provide a reference frame for the conditions that may have prevailed during the formation of the sedimentary strata in Gale crater, particularly focusing on the Sheepbed and Pahrump Hills members. We calculate the chemical index of alteration for weathering profiles and fluvial sediments to better constrain the relationship between climate and chemical weathering in mafic terrains, a method that best estimates the cooler limit of climate conditions averaged over time. We also compare X‐ray diffraction patterns and mineral abundances from fluvial sediments in varying terrestrial climates and martian mudstones to better understand the influence of climate on secondary mineral assemblages in basaltic terrains. We show that the geochemistry and mineralogy of most of the fine‐grained sedimentary rocks in Gale crater display first‐order similarities with sediments generated in climates that resemble those of present‐day Iceland, while other parts of the stratigraphy indicate even colder baseline climate conditions. None of the lithologies examined at Gale crater resemble fluvial sediments or weathering profiles from warm (temperate to tropical) terrestrial climates.