National Academies Press: OpenBook

Effects of Past Global Change on Life (1995)

Chapter: ABSTRACT

« Previous: REFERENCES
Suggested Citation:"ABSTRACT." National Research Council. 1995. Effects of Past Global Change on Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4762.
×
Page 118

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.

NEOGENE ICE AGE IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC REGION: CLIMATIC CHANGES, BIOTIC EFFECTS, AND FORCING 118 FACTORS 7 Neogene Ice Age in the North Atlantic Region: Climatic Changes, Biotic Effects, and Forcing Factors Steven M. Stanley Johns Hopkins University William F. Ruddiman University of Virginia ABSTRACT Long-term climatic trends culminated in the recent ice age of the Northern Hemisphere. As late as mid-Pliocene time, however, many sectors of the North Atlantic region remained substantially warmer than today. Oxygen isotope ratios for marine microfossils indicate that a pulse of cooling occurred relatively suddenly at high and middle latitudes at ~3.2 to 3.1 million years ago (Ma) and that large ice sheets formed ~2.5 Ma, when more severe cooling and regional drying of climates occurred. Cycles of glacial expansion and contraction reflected orbital forcing at periodicities of ~41,000 yr until about 0.9 Ma and ~100,000 yr thereafter. Aridification in Africa at ~2.5 Ma resulted in the extinction of many forest-dwelling species of mammals and, soon thereafter, in the origins of numerous species adapted to savannas. Mammalian extinction intensified closer to 2 Ma in North America and was weaker in Europe, where forests changed in floral composition but remained widespread. Beginning at ~2.5 Ma and continuing into mid-Pleistocene time, life occupying shallow seafloors in the North Atlantic region suffered heavy extinction from climatic cooling, leaving an impoverished, eurythermal Recent fauna. Long- term climatic trends in the North Atlantic region during Neogene time probably resulted primarily from tectonic events, notably closure of the Straits of Panama and uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and other regions. A decrease in atmospheric CO2 and consequent weakening of a greenhouse effect also appears to be required, perhaps due to increased weathering that accompanied the uplifting of plateaus.

Next: The Pliocene Prior to 2.5 Ma »
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, NAP.edu'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!