Regime shifts in the Central Asian steppe-desert are driven by climate

Speaker: Natasha Barbolini, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences (DEEP) Stockholm University


Abstact:Thirty-four million years ago at the Eocene–Oligocene Transition, sudden climate change caused ecological breakdown in Central Asia. Deserts spread across the lowlands, and biological diversity was permanently affected. Caused by rapid changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide, this event was a critical tipping point for Asian ecosystems that in fact shaped the modern biome. Widespread desertification lasted for almost 20 million years, and vegetation only began to recolonise the lowlands when it became temporarily wetter, during the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum. Climate was thus a major driver of regime shifts in the Central Asian steppe-desert biome during the Cenozoic. Now, rapid changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide are once again causing widespread desertification in Asia. Based on past behaviour, this is a sign of impending ecosystem breakdown, with serious negative implications for biodiversity, agriculture, and human wellbeing.

Zoom: https://stockholmuniversity.zoom.us/j/845471560
Webinar ID: 845 471 560

poster for seminar with abstract and two images, landscape and speaker holding a fossil