The global cooling during the past 60 m.y., leading to extensive ice-cap development in the Miocene, has been attributed to decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and continental shifts. The marked changes in vegetation during this period have been assumed to be a response to global cooling. The GENESIS global climate model is used to isolate the effect of these vegetation changes on climate. The Miocene to present vegetation changes resulted in a model globally averaged surface-temperature cooling of 1.9 °C suggesting that vegetation and vegetation-climate feedbacks could be a significant component of the cooling during the late Cenozoic.
- Geological Society of America