Download Climate Change: Shifting Glaciers, Deserts, and Climate by Timothy M. Kusky PDF

By Timothy M. Kusky

The Earth has skilled many episodes of dramatic weather switch through the years. Scientists warn that the planet is at the moment changing into hotter at a swift velocity and there'll be major outcomes for the folks and ecosystems. How people reply to international warming is essential for his or her survival amid the becoming hazard of relocating coastal towns, migrating crop belts, altering weather zones, and ranging river stipulations. an intensive exam of the weather historical past of the prior million years can help expect and change the direction for the long run.

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Additional info for Climate Change: Shifting Glaciers, Deserts, and Climate Belts (The Hazardous Earth)

Sample text

Examination of the geological record has enabled paleoclimatologists to reconstruct periods when Earth had glacial periods, hot dry periods, hot wet periods, or cold dry periods. In most cases, Earth has responded to these changes by expanding and contracting its climate belts. Warm periods see an expansion of the warm subtropical belts to high latitudes, and cold periods see an expansion of the cold climates of the poles to low latitudes. Plate Tectonics and Climate The outer layers of Earth are broken into about a dozen large tectonic plates, extending to about 60–100 miles (100–160 km) beneath the surface.

Supercontinents and Climate The motion of the tectonic plates periodically causes most of the continental land masses of the planet to collide with each other, forming giant continents known as supercontinents. For much of the past several billion years, these supercontinents have alternately formed and broken up, in a process called the supercontinent cycle. The last supercontinent was known as Pangaea, which broke up about 160 million years ago to form the present day plates on the planet. Before that the previous supercontinent was known as Gondwana, which formed about 600–500 million years ago, and the one before that was known as Rodinia, formed around a billion years ago.

Global warming is generally associated with increased amounts of seafloor spreading when large masses of continents, called supercontinents, break apart. The increased amount of volcanism also displaces large amounts of water, leading to sea level rise during continental breakup. Conversely, when many continental blocks converge and collide, the carbonate and silicate minerals buried in rocks along the continental margins get exposed to weathering and combine with atmospheric carbon dioxide, causing global cooling.

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