2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


FLOWER, Benjamin P., College of Marine Science, Univ of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, bflower@marine.usf.edu

CHRONOS is an NSF Geoinformatics initiative to develop a network of databases and visualization methodologies that enhance chronostratigraphy and understanding of Earth System History through time (see www.chronos.org). The CHRONOS platform will be of particular importance in Mesozoic / Cenozoic paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, with its numerous large and disparate data sets (e.g., time scale construction, paleoenvironments, paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, paleotectonics, and evolution). In addition, partnerships developed between CHRONOS and other programs (including the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) will further facilitate research and public outreach relevant to late Mesozoic / Cenozoic time.

To realize the potential of the CHRONOS platform, a wide range of data are needed. Integrated databases on stratigraphy, paleogeography, land albedo, ice sheets, sea-surface temperatures, continental temperatures, greenhouse gas levels, thermohaline circulation, and biotic evolution will support a new generation of comprehensive studies of Earth System History. To this end, a CHRONOS workshop on Mesozoic / Cenozoic paleoceanography and paleoclimatology was held on October 27-28 at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg (see http://www.chronos.org/meetings/workshops.html) . Along with database and tool development, a series of time-slice studies will serve as test-beds for the CHRONOS platform. One of the intervals targeted is the mid-Miocene climate transition ca. 17-13 million years ago. This was a particularly dynamic interval of time that included the Neogene climate optimum closely followed by a major increase in Antarctic glaciation. A central unanswered question is: What caused the transition from the warmest interval of the past ca. 35 million years to the late Neogene glacial world in less than 2 million years? The time-slice approach adopted for the last glacial maximum (CLIMAP Project Members, 1976, The surface of the ice-age earth, Science, 191:1131-1137) will serve as an initial investigative model. The CHRONOS system will provide the scientific community with state-of-the art databases, analytical and visualization tools, and key partnerships, thereby fully capitalizing on the Geoinformatics revolution.