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Climates of the Late Triassic: Perspectives, Proxies and Problems

  • Lawrence H. Tanner
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 46)

Abstract

The majority of paleoclimate evidence, including climate-sensitive lithofacies, paleobotanical evidence and a lack of evidence of glaciation, indicates a climate that was significantly warmer during the Late Triassic than at present. Multiple proxies demonstrate higher atmospheric pCO2 during the Late Triassic as the driver for this warmth. Historically, the results of pCO2 estimates from measurements of stomatal indices and calculations from the isotopic composition of pedogenic carbonate have produced differing results. More recent estimates based on improved methodologies and sampling constraints yield more consistent results, indicating pCO2 levels well over 1000 ppm, potentially higher, with excursions to even higher levels. Sedimentary evidence, particularly paleosols, indicate a highly seasonal climate for broad areas of Pangaea, suggesting a strongly monsoonal climate controlled by the arrangement of land areas. Most of the seasonal precipitation was limited to coastal regions, while the interior was largely semi-arid to arid at low to mid-latitudes. Humid climates were limited to mid- and higher latitude. The middle Carnian experienced a brief interval of increased warmth and humidity, with high-resolution records indicating that the event occurred as multiple pulses. A trend of aridification from the late Carnian to the Norian is evident across much of Pangaea, generally explained as the result of either weakening monsoonal flow due to the northward shift of Pangaea, or the drifting of regions between latitudinally-controlled climate zones. Biotic events at the end-Triassic have been attributed to CO2-forced warming caused by outgassing of flood basalts, although initial SO2-aerosol forced cooling followed by warming is more likely.

Keywords

Late Triassic Megamonsoon Aridification Pedogenic carbonate Stomatal indices Carnian Pluvial Event CAMP 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The initial manuscript version of this chapter was improved greatly by the insights and helpful suggestions of Evelyn Kustatscher and Spencer Lucas.

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental SciencesLe Moyne CollegeSyracuseUSA

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