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The Oceans: A Deep History

The 4.4-billion-year history of the oceans and their role in Earth's climate system It 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.
Product Details

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1 2 Origins 15 Building a Planet, Shaping the Oceans 16 Water, Salt, and Circulation 31 Life, Oxygen, and Carbon 45 3 Controls On Change 56 Orbital and Solar Changes 62 Greenhouse Gases 69 Plate Tectonics 79 Impacts 80 4 Snowball Earth And The Explosions Of Life 82 Into the Freezer 83 Out of the Freezer, Into a Greenhouse 93 A Tale of Two Explosions 95 Reverberations 99 5 Oceans On Acid 109 About Acidification 111 Acidification in Action 118 6 The Age Of Reptiles 126 Choking Oceans 134 Salty Giants 153 7 Winter Is Coming 162 Reconstructing Sea-Level Change 168 The Great Northern Ice Ages 174 Ocean Controls on CO2 178 A Seesaw in the Ocean 185 8 Future Oceans And Climate 192 Our Carbon Emissions 192 Consequences 199 Epilogue 215 Acknowledgments 219 Bibliography 221 Index 251

About the Author

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.


In an incredibly detailed 262-page hardcover volume titled The Oceans: A Deep History, Rohling shakes up every reader who . . . [dives] into the massive amount of worrisome information---Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, The Jerusalem Post The density of information and Rohling's clear, concise explanations make for exhilarating reading, not least because his delight in his subject matter is so palpable. Most importantly though, Rohling's long view makes clear the vast scope of the transformation of the oceans taking place around us, underlining not just the effect on ecosystems and biodiversity, but also its geological scale.---James Bradley, The Australian For science readers looking for something new, [The Oceans] is a treat.---John Farrell,, If you want to understand the planet and climate change, this book is for you.---John R. Platt, EcoWatch Paleoceanography, Rohling's area of expertise, is the study of ancient oceans and ancient climates as they changed and developed together over geologic time. It involves analyzing data like layers of sediment taken from the seabed. Much alarming information can be learned this way, as Rohling demonstrates, about how today's oceans are likely to respond to climate change--with greater acidification, sea-level rise, mass extinction and so forth. But because storms leave no geological record, the precise effect of global warming on hurricanes is harder to gauge. Still, Rohling is confident that the combination of rising sea levels and some form of increased storm intensity 'spells doom' for the world's coastal regions. For surfers, rooting for hurricane swell may be increasingly difficult to rationalize.---James Ryerson, New York Times

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