- Paleontology and paleobotany - general
- Fossil record of vertebrate responses to global warming
Fossil record of vertebrate responses to global warming
Smith, Krister T. Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Paleoanthropology and Messel Research, Frankfurt, Germany.
- Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
- Endothermic (metabolically thermoregulated) vertebrates
- Ectothermic vertebrates
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
In the twenty-first century, the Earth is expected to experience a significant [2–4°C (3.6–7.2°F)] rise in global mean surface air temperature (SAT) in consequence of the large volume of greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, emitted principally by modern industrial and industrializing nations. This rise will be milder in the tropics but more severe toward the North Pole, and will probably be accompanied by other disruptive climatic changes. The net increase in SAT observed in the last century [0.74°C (1.3°F)] has already been implicated in morphological and phenological (periodic life cycle) changes and range shifts by various species. Prediction of ecosystem resilience to projected climate changes and the extent of species responses can be made on the basis of ecological and physiological models. However, the magnitude of warming is unparalleled in recorded (scientific) history, and uncertainties about thresholds and state transitions remain.
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