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Distribution of Oceans and Continents: A Geological Constraint on Global Climate Variability

By
Lee C. Gerhard
Lee C. Gerhard
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William E. Harrison
William E. Harrison
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Published:
January 01, 2001

abstract

Major erathemic climate changes may result from redistribution of oceans and continents through time. When plate tectonic reconstructions portray the presence of near-equatorial currents, greenhouse events are common, but when landmasses exist at the equator, such oceanic circulation patterns are not developed and the transfer of heat to the polar regions stimulates large-scale glaciation. This pattern seems to have operated from the Vendian to the present. Observed tectonic changes between Pleistocene icehouse and Cretaceous greenhouse events provide the basis for development of this hypothesis. As illustrated on Figure 1 in the introduction to this volume, the proposed relationship is a second-order driver and is relatively more important than those phenomena that occur over short periods of time and result in smaller temperature changes.

Figure 1

Highly generalized thermohaline circulation in the world ocean that transfers thermal energy (heat) and exerts a major influence on climate (modified from Bigg, 1996, and Scotese, 1997).

Figure 1

Highly generalized thermohaline circulation in the world ocean that transfers thermal energy (heat) and exerts a major influence on climate (modified from Bigg, 1996, and Scotese, 1997).

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Contents

AAPG Studies in Geology

Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change

Lee C. Gerhard
Lee C. Gerhard
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William E. Harrison
William E. Harrison
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Bernold M. Hanson
Bernold M. Hanson
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
47
ISBN electronic:
9781629810669
Publication date:
January 01, 2001

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