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NEOGENE ICE AGE IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC REGION: CLIMATIC CHANGES, BIOTIC EFFECTS, AND FORCING 131 FACTORS ever, that changes in geography are insufficient to account for general climatic cooling during the late Neogene time. A trend of decreasing atmospheric CO2 is the most likely cause of long-term climatic cooling. Spreading rates at midocean ridges have not changed enough during the past 30 m.y. to have been the primary factor. A likely cause is elevation of mountains and plateaus, which increased rates of CO2 uptake by weathering. Since extensive sea ice and glaciers first formed at high latitudes, changes in the Earth's orbital behavior have caused their volumes to oscillate periodically and further influence climate. REFERENCES Axelrod, D. I. (1950). Evolution of desert vegetation in western North America, in Studies in Late Tertiary Paleobotany, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 590, pp. 217-306. Axelrod, D. I. (1966). 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