Vegetation Dynamics and the Earth System

author: Martin Claussen, Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg
published: March 28, 2013,   recorded: April 2005,   views: 40
Categories

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.
  Bibliography

Description

Climate change does not unfold gradually or in a linear way. Peering back 11,000 years in our own Holocene era, Martin Claussen sketches a picture of abrupt and brutal shifts in the biosphere. His work involves modeling complex interactions among atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and vegetation. The Sahara Desert was once a green oasis, but dramatic disruptions in the last six thousand years led to its very rapid browning. Claussen’s models demonstrate that a slow evolution in the earth’s orbit and its tilt toward the sun triggered a reaction that led to swift loss of moisture and vegetation in North Africa. Claussen believes that interactions within Earth’s climate system -- specifically between vegetation cover and sea ice -- amplified the impact of the orbital shifts. “If the system gets a slight kick, it can jump from green to desert,” says Claussen. As a result of this change, humans may have been forced to migrate from the devastated Sahara region to the fertile Tigris, Euphrates and Nile River valleys, where new civilizations sprang up. Looking forward, Claussen notes that triggers such as an excess of human-generated carbon dioxide or deforestation might provoke similar dramatic climatic changes in global hotspots.

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: