Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Yani Najman

Yani Najman will work with Peter Molnar to understand interactions between tectonics, erosion and climate during the onset of Late Cenozoic global cooling and Northern Hemisphere glaciation. The degree of interaction between these entities is debated, in part because the records are incomplete and difficult to disentangle. For example, is the Late Cenozoic proposed increase in global erosion rates the result of a change to a cooler, less equable, perhaps stormier climate, or the result of mountain ranges rising, or simply the result of an incomplete record of sediment accumulation? Moreover, the feedbacks between these variables are multifaceted: erosion affects climate both by increasing silicate weathering which causes drawdown of atmospheric CO2, and because higher sedimentation rates result in faster burial of organic carbon; growth of mountain belts impacts climate by interfering with atmospheric circulation patterns; and the influence of isostasy moderates these variables. Understanding the complex interlinkages and feedbacks requires a knowledge of the precise timing of events. This project will undertake a new approach to interrogating these records, utilising a compilation of low temperature thermochronology data to seek to determine the level of temporal correlation between such events.