The 4.4-billion-year history of the oceans and their role in Earth's climate systemIt has often been said that we know more about the moon than we do about our own oceans. In fact, we know a great deal more about the oceans than many people realize. Scientists know that our actions today are shaping the oceans and climate of tomorrow-and that if we continue to act recklessly, the consequences will be dire. In this timely and accessible book, Eelco Rohling traces the 4.4 billion-year history of Earth's oceans while also shedding light on the critical role they play in our planet's climate system.Beginning with the formation of primeval Earth and the earliest appearance of oceans, Rohling takes readers on a journey through prehistory to the present age, vividly describing the major events in the ocean's evolution-from snowball and greenhouse Earth to the end-Permian mass extinction, the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent, and the changing climate of today. Along the way, he explores the close interrelationships of the oceans, climate, solid Earth processes, and life, using the context of Earth and ocean history to provide perspective on humankind's impacts on the health and habitability of our planet-and on what the future may hold for us.An invaluable introduction to the cutting-edge science of paleoceanography, The Oceans enables you to make your own informed opinions about the environmental challenges we face as a result of humanity's unrelenting drive to exploit the world ocean and its vital resources.
Eelco J. Rohling is professor of ocean and climate change in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University and at the University of Southampton's National Oceanography Centre Southampton.
1 Introduction 12 Origins 15Building a Planet, Shaping the Oceans 16Water, Salt, and Circulation 31Life, Oxygen, and Carbon 453 Controls On Change 56Orbital and Solar Changes 62Greenhouse Gases 69Plate Tectonics 79Impacts 804 Snowball Earth And The Explosions Of Life 82Into the Freezer 83Out of the Freezer, Into a Greenhouse 93A Tale of Two Explosions 95Reverberations 995 Oceans On Acid 109About Acidification 111Acidification in Action 1186 The Age Of Reptiles 126Choking Oceans 134Salty Giants 1537 Winter Is Coming 162Reconstructing Sea-Level Change 168The Great Northern Ice Ages 174Ocean Controls on CO2 178A Seesaw in the Ocean 1858 Future Oceans And Climate 192Our Carbon Emissions 192Consequences 199Epilogue 215Acknowledgments 219Bibliography 221Index 251