National Academies Press: OpenBook

Effects of Past Global Change on Life (1995)


Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
Page 115
Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
Page 116
Suggested Citation:"REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
Page 117

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

TROPICAL CLIMATE STABILITY AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF LIFE 115 and the more comprehensive analysis of Kauffman and Johnson (1988) that the rise of rudist-dominated reefs corresponded to increased tropical warmth and higher salinities. The rise of rudist-dominated reefs may well be one example of the response of tropical organisms to global warmth and increased tropical sea-surface temperatures and changes in surface salinity. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Three major conclusions can be derived from the lines of evidence presented in this study. First, substantial variation in tropical temperatures and salinities during Earth history is plausible. Oxygen isotopic data, climate model studies, ocean heat transport experiments, and biologic data support a range of variation within 3 to 5°C of the present-day surface temperatures. Limited ocean model studies further suggest that salinities differing by several parts per thousand from present-day values are also reasonable. Although all the sources of data are characterized by uncertainty, and the individual sources of data are probably insufficient to describe these variations quantitatively through time, the data are sufficient to conclude that the tropics are sensitive to global change. Second, the variations in temperature and salinity are large enough to have a substantial impact on tropical organisms. This conclusion is based on relatively limited experiments on the temperature tolerances of living organisms. The case study of the changes in reef communities from coral-dominated to rudist bivalve-dominated during the Cretaceous is perhaps one major example of the tropical response to global warming. Importantly, the emersion experiments on corals are likely to overestimate the optimum environmental range of tropical marine organisms, and such experiments fail to take into account changes in competitive advantage with changes in environmental conditions. More research within this area is required to be able to assess tropical response to global change. Third, greater study of the tropics and tropical biota in Earth history may well yield substantial additional insights into global change research. The sensitivity of the tropics to external forcing factors is a subject of considerable debate, with as yet few data to verify or validate the model simulations. The rise of rudist-dominated reefs is likely to be just one example of the response of tropical organisms to change. The geologic record contains a wealth of other case studies of tropical changes. The mid-Cretaceous case study also suggests that the fabric of the biologic changes contains much more information than evidence of warmth. For example, the fact that corals and rudists were able to compete or coexist at some localities (Scott et al., 1990) has a number of additional implications. First, this may suggest that the temperatures and salinities did not exceed the limit of corals, but rather were likely to be outside the optimum conditions. Second, the model simulations and knowledge of the nature of environments suggest substantial spatial variations in temperature and salinity. Global warming may well cause restricted tropical regions to exceed temperature and salinity tolerances more readily than open ocean regions. Given the large temperature changes with depth, the changes in coral versus rudistid dominance may well exhibit a depth control. Further, the climate model simulations do not suggest a simple belt of above-optimum salinities and temperatures. Rather there is considerable spatial structure, with some areas exceeding only the temperature optimum, others exceeding only the salinity optimum, and still others exceeding both temperature and salinity optima. There may well be substantial structure in the rudist and coral communities that can be tied to the spatial characteristics of the model results. Finally, there are large differences between the Cretaceous and the Cretaceous simulation with high carbon dioxide. The degree of warming, the mechanism of warming, and the history of global warmth throughout the Cretaceous may well be described within the changes in tropical communities during this period. The generally held view that the tropics are an environment in which the physicochemical constraints are not undergoing major changes should not be translated to a view that the tropics are stable to external forcing factors (e.g., increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide). Because of the narrow environmental tolerances of many tropical organisms, tropical biota may be very sensitive to global change. For this reason, changes in tropical organisms and their distribution should be viewed as a rich, underutilized record that can provide many new insights into the climate sensitivity of the tropics. This record provides the only major source of data on the biologic response to global change. REFERENCES Adams, C. G., D. E. Lee, and B. R. Rosen (1990). Conflicting isotopic and biotic evidence for tropical sea-surface temperatures during the Tertiary, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 77, 289-313. Barron, E. J. (1983). A warm, equable Cretaceous: The nature of the problem, Earth-Science Reviews 19, 305-338. Barron, E. J. (1987). Eocene equator-to-pole surface ocean temperatures: A significant climate problem? Paleoceanography 2, 729-739. Barron, E. J., and W. H. Peterson (1989). Model simulation of the Cretaceous ocean circulation, Science 244, 684-686. Barron, E. J., and W. H. Peterson (1990). Mid-Cretaceous ocean circulation: Results from model sensitivity studies, Paleoceanography 5(3), 319-337.

TROPICAL CLIMATE STABILITY AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF LIFE 116 Barron, E. J., and W. H. Peterson (1991). The Cenozoic ocean circulation based on Ocean General Circulation Model results, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 83, 1-28. Barron, E. J., and W. M. Washington (1984). The role of geographic variables in explaining paleoclimates: Results from Cretaceous climate model sensitivity studies, Journal of Geophysical Research 89, 1267-1279. Barron, E. J., and W. M. Washington (1985). Warm Cretaceous climates: High atmospheric CO2 as a plausible mechanism, in The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO2: Natural Variations Archean to Present, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., pp. 546-553. Barron, E. J., W. H. Peterson, D. Pollard, and S. Thompson (1993a). Past climate and the role of ocean heat transport: Model simulations for the Cretaceous, Paleoceanography 8, 785-798. Barron, E. J., P. J. Fawcett, D. Pollard, and S. Thompson (1993b). Model simulations of Cretaceous climates: The role of geography and carbon dioxide, Palaeoclimate and Their Modelling with Special Reference to the Mesozoic Era, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences 341, 307-316. Berner, R. A. (1990). Atmospheric carbon dioxide over Phanerozoic time, Science 249, 1382-1386. Berner, R. A., A. C. Lasaga, and R. M. Garrels (1983). The carbonate-silicate geochemical cycle and its effect on atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 100 million years, American Journal of Science 283, 641-683. Brass, G. W., J. R. Southam, and W. H. Peterson (1982). Warm saline bottom waters in the ancient ocean, Nature 296, 620-623. CLIMAP Project Members (1981). Seasonal reconstruction of the Earth's surface at the last glacial maximum, Geological Society of America Map and Chart Series MC-36. Covey, C., and S. L. Thompson (1989). Testing the effects of ocean heat transport on climate, Global and Planetary Change 75, 331-341. Crowley, T. J. (1991). Past CO2 changes and tropical climate, Paleoceanography 6, 387-394. Douglas, R. G., and S. M. Savin (1975). Oxygen and carbon isotope analyses of Tertiary and Cretaceous microfossils from Shatsky Rise and other sites in the North Pacific, Initial Reports of the Deep-Sea Drilling Project 32, 509-520. Emiliani, C. (1970). Pleistocene paleotemperatures, Science 168, 822-825. Emiliani, C., and N. J. Shackleton (1974). The Brunhes Epoch: Isotopic paleotemperatures and geochronology, Science 183, 511-514. Hansen, J. E., et al. (1988). Global climate changes as forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies three-dimensional model, Journal of Geophysical Research 93, 9341-9364. Horrell, M. A. (1990). Energy balance constraints on 18O based paleo-sea surface temperature estimates, Paleoceanography 5, 339-348. Kauffman, E. G., and C. C. Johnson (1988). The morphological and ecological evolution of Middle and Upper Cretaceous reef-building rudistids, Palaios 3(2), 194-216. Kauffman, E. G., and N. F. Sohl (1974). Structure and evolution of Antillean Cretaceous rudist frameworks, Verhandlungen Naturforschende Gesellschaft 84(1), Basel, 399-467. Manabe, S., and K. Bryan (1985). CO2-induced change in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model and its paleoclimatic implications, Journal of Geophysical Research 90, 11,689-11,708. Matthews, R. K., and R. Z. Poore (1980). Tertiary 18O record and glacioeustatic sea-level fluctuation, Geology 8, 501-504. Newell, R. E., and T. G. Dopplick (1979). Questions concerning the possible influence of anthropogenic CO2 on atmospheric temperature, Journal of Applied Meteorology 18, 822-825. Newell, R. E., A. R. Navato, and J. Hsiung (1978). Long-term global sea surface temperature fluctuations and their possible influence on atmospheric CO2 concentrations, Journal of Pure and Applied Geophysics 116, 351-371. Ogelsby, R. J., and B. Saltzman (1990). Extending the EBM: The effect of the deep ocean temperatures on climate with applications to the Cretaceous, Global and Planetary Change 2, 237-259. Rind, D., and D. Peteet (1985). Terrestrial conditions at the last glacial maximum and CLIMAP sea-surface temperature estimates: Are they consistent?, Quaternary Research 24, 1-22. Savin, S. (1977). The history of the Earth's surface temperature during the past 100 million years, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science 5, 319-355. Savin, S., R. Douglas, and F. Stehli (1975). Tertiary marine paleotemperatures, Geological Society of America Bulletin 86, 1499-1510. Schlesinger, M. E. (1989). Model projections of the climatic changes induced by increased atmospheric CO2, in Climate and Geo-Sciences, A. Berger, S. H. Schneider, and J.-C. Duplessy, eds., Kluwer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 375-415. Schlesinger, M. E., and J. F. B. Mitchell (1987). Climate model simulations of the equilibrium climatic response to increased carbon dioxide, Reviews of Geophysics 25(4), 760-798. Scott, R. W. (1988). Evolution of Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous reef biotas, Palaios 3(2), 184-193. Scott, R. W., P. A. Fernández-Mendiola, E. Gili, and A. Simó (1990). Persistence of coral-rudist reefs into the Late Cretaceous, Palaios 5(2), 98-110. Shackleton, N. J. (1984). Oxygen isotope evidence for Cenozoic climatic change, in Fossils and Climate, P. J. Brenchley, ed., Wiley, Chichester, pp. 27-34. Shackleton, N. J., and A. Boersma (1981). The climate of the Eocene ocean, Journal of the Geological Society of London 138, 153-157. Sloan, L. C. (1990). Determination of Critical Factors in the Simulation of Eocene Global Climate, with Special Reference to North America, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. Stanley, S. M. (1984a). Marine mass extinction: A dominant role for temperature, in Extinctions, M. H. Nitecki, ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 69-117. Stanley, S. M. (1984b). Temperature and biotic crises in the marine realm, Geology 12, 205-208. Stanley, S. M. (1988). Climatic cooling and mass extinction of Paleozoic reef communities, Palaios 3(2), 228-232.

TROPICAL CLIMATE STABILITY AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF LIFE 117 Stehli, F. G., and J. W. Wells (1971). Diversity and age patterns in hermatypic corals, Systematic Zoology 20, 115-126. Valentine, J. W. (1973). Evolutionary Paleoecology of the Marine Biosphere, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 511 pp. Vaughn, T., and J. Wells (1943). Revision of the suborders, families and genera of the Scleractinia, Geological Society of America Special Paper 44, 363 pp. Washington, W. M., and G. A. Meehl (1984). Seasonal cycle experiment on the climate sensitivity due to a doubling of CO2 with an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to a simple mixed-layer ocean model, Journal of Geophysical Research 89, 9475-9503.

Effects of Past Global Change on Life Get This Book
Buy Hardback | $65.00 Buy Ebook | $49.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

What can we expect as global change progresses? Will there be thresholds that trigger sudden shifts in environmental conditions—or that cause catastrophic destruction of life?

Effects of Past Global Change on Life explores what earth scientists are learning about the impact of large-scale environmental changes on ancient life—and how these findings may help us resolve today's environmental controversies.

Leading authorities discuss historical climate trends and what can be learned from the mass extinctions and other critical periods about the rise and fall of plant and animal species in response to global change. The volume develops a picture of how environmental change has closed some evolutionary doors while opening others—including profound effects on the early members of the human family.

An expert panel offers specific recommendations on expanding research and improving investigative tools—and targets historical periods and geological and biological patterns with the most promise of shedding light on future developments.

This readable and informative book will be of special interest to professionals in the earth sciences and the environmental community as well as concerned policymakers.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!