Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments

2009 Edition
| Editors: Vivien Gornitz

Neogene Climates

  • Carin Andersson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4411-3_150


The Neogene includes the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, which span 23.03–5.33 and 5.33–1.81 million years ago, respectively Loureus et al., 2004. The Neogene witnessed several major paleoclimatological changes. In general terms, the Neogene went from a warm climatic optimum in the late early Miocene through rapid cooling during the middle Miocene, to the onset of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG) in the Pliocene.

The Miocene

During the Miocene, especially the middle Miocene, the Earth went through several major changes – both climatic and tectonic. The climatic transition involved gradual cooling, starting about 15 million years ago, and establishment of major ice sheets on Antarctica by 10 million years ago (Zachos et al., 2001), as well as significant changes in global carbon cycling and deep ocean circulation. Initially, researchers argued for minimal continental ice from sometime in the Cretaceous to the Miocene, with a transition to so-called “icehouse” conditions...
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  • Carin Andersson

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