Abstract

Coupled climate-biome model simulations of the late Paleozoic were developed to determine the response of Pangean tropical climate to Gondwanan deglaciation. The model simulations predict substantial changes over equatorial Pangea including continental drying, a reversal of equatorial winds, warming, heavier δ18O values of meteoric precipitation, and the expansion of deserts and the contraction of forests. The magnitude of these tropical responses is sensitive to the extent of Gondwana continental ice and the deglacial rise in atmospheric pCO2, boundary conditions that are not well known for the late Paleozoic. Nonetheless the model predictions are consistent with climatic and environmental trends determined from terrestrial proxy data, implying that the deglaciation of Gondwana was a transformational climate event in tropical Pangea.

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