Distribution of Oceans and Continents: A Geological Constraint on Global Climate Variability
Lee C. Gerhard, William E. Harrison, 2001. "Distribution of Oceans and Continents: A Geological Constraint on Global Climate Variability", Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change, Lee C. Gerhard, William E. Harrison, Bernold M. Hanson
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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.
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Access A Broad Range of Paleoclimatic Studies. Current debates regarding potential man-induced modification of climate make this volume especially timely. Introductory sections address the major and minor physical controls, or drivers, that affect Earth's climate. Several chapters describe the naturally occurring range of variation of climatic conditions and illustrate past changes in global temperatures. Case studies show how ancient temperature conditions are determined, as well as new techniques that have significant potential as proxies for assessing paleoclimates. Several chapters demonstrate the magnitude and length of duration of numerous temperature variations, which occurred during geologic time periods.