Capabilities implications and limitations of modelling

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Capabilities, implications and limitations of modelling results

COMMENT: At the coldest time in the Mesozoic, there were perhaps small permanent ice caps on the poles. During the warmest time of the Mesozoic, there were unlikely to be freezing temperatures at the poles at all. These are examples of dramatic changes in climate brought on by changes in the Earth system. Why did these changes occur? What instigated cold poles vs. warm poles?

Numerical modeling is a tool that is used to help identify WHY and HOW these types of changes in the climate can occur. Lesson 15 introduces you to this tool by describing how modelling is applied to help understand the influence of various factors on Mesozoic global climate. Results of these efforts are summarized in this figure, to which the first 4 questions refer.

Concluding Comments

We base our understanding of Mesozoic climate and how it changed between 250 and 65 Ma on (a) observations from the rock, fossil and geochemical record and (b) models that incorporate the physics of global atmospheric and ocean dynamics. Of course there are still gaps in our knowledge and details in the observed fossil, rock or geochemical record that are not so well understood. You might find it useful or interesting to consider finding in Lesson 15 simple answers to the following questions:
  • What is at least one setting or location in the Mesozoic Earth from which would we like more fossils or other proxy information?
  • What are two examples of paleoclimate proxies for which we would like a more complete understanding of exactly how the observable information can be associated with ancient climatic conditions.
  • What aspects of those two proxies are scientists still working on improving?
  • What are two improvements to modelling that would enhance the likelihood of accurate outputs?


Creative Commons License EOSC 116 Active Reading by F.Jones, L.Longridge, 2014-2016.
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