Quaternary Environments Introductory Lecture

Quaternary Environments Introductory Lecture

Quaternary Environments Climate and Climatic Variation Geologic Time Scale Glacial Time

Scales in the Northern Hemisphere Blytt-Sernander Scheme of European Peat Stratigraphy

Scale of Variation The Climate System

End-product of Atmosphere Oceans Biosphere Land

surface Cryosphere Major Components of the Climate System

Atmosphere Clouds Atmospheric circulation Greenhouse gasses (Water, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxides) Temperature

Incoming solar radiation (INSOLATION) Insolation (W/m ) 2

Oceans Thermohaline Circulation Thermal Inertia Source of Moisture Sea Level Rise

Melting of ice sheets Thermal expansion

Thermohaline Circulation (Schmitz 1995) Cross Section of Thermohaline Circulation

(Brown et al. 1989) Biosphere

Vegetation Effects on Climate Albedo Roughness Evapotranspiration Atmospheric

composition Vegetation Response to Climate Faunal Response to Climate

CO2 Sequestration Land Surface Effects of Land Surface on the Climate

System Aspect Elevation Albedo

Response to the Climate System River systems Sea level change

Glacial evidence Cryosphere Ice Extent

Albedo Feedback Effects Temperature Control

Energy Balance in the Atmosphere Sensitive heat flux (H) Latent heat flux (LE) Bowen Ratio (H/LE)

Energy Balance Time Scales of Climatic Variation Climate Varies on All Time Scales Driving Processes

Climate Variation Over Multiple Scales Variations of the Earths Orbital Parameters

James Croll; Scottish natural historian 1867 Milankovitch; Elaborated on Crolls original hypothesis in 1941 Berger; Advances Milankovitchs work in the late 1970s

Milankovitch Cycles

Eccentricity 95,800 year period. Changes in the orbital path of the Earth around the Sun. Affects the relative intensities of the seasons.

Obliquity 41,000 year period. Changes in axial tilt of the Earth. Precession 21,700 year period. Wobble of the axis causing a precession of the equinoxes. Perihelion during Northern Hemisphere summer occurred 11,000 years ago.

Orbital Factors Wobble on the Earths Axis Precession

Insolation and 18O Long Term Solar Radiation http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/Intro.html; Illustration by Steele Hill

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