Integration Meteorology and Plate Tectonics


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Meteorology, Oceanography and Geology

Is integration meteorology and plate tectonics a newer sphere of science? You may not easily find a direct relationship between meteorology and plate tectonics, but some connection's gotta exist.

According to plate tectonics theory, the surface of earth consists of many plates, which drift apart or compress against each other. The areas where two plates come in contact with each other exhibit great geological activity. Features such as volcanoes, mountain formation, ocean current redirection and earthquakes.

Weather and its effects can erode those mountains and change the ocean currents. It will also create and destroy ice-age glaciation and its compression on the earth's surface.

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Some examples of integration meteorology and plate tectonics are as follows:

  • The entire surface of the earth is divided into a limited number of floating plates
  • Each of these moves at the rate of up to three cm/year.
  • The plate movements can cause alterations in ocean currents which in turn alter atmospheric heat distribution and total atmospheric motion.
  • Areas of higher latitude can undergo changes in glaciers and climate.
  • Most importantly, the plate movements cause volcanic activity.
  • As you may know, volcanic activity releases of more carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere, which may cause global warming.

I'm floating on a what?
Integration Meteorology and Plate Tectonics

Continental drift theory describes the movement of continental plates and suggests that all the continents of earth were once part of a large landmass called Pangea.

It may seem quite apparent from the world map of continents. Their boundaries appear to fit together as if they were once connected. Al Gore even had fun (?) with this on in An Inconvenient Truth.

This interchange, leading to the integration of meteorology and plate tectonics, could explain some of the changes in global climate over millions of years.

Geology and paleontology, the study of fossils, shed light on the climatic conditions that prevailed on the surface of the earth at precise time periods in the past 150 million years or so. Paleo-Meteorology, the study of prehistoric climactic conditions, finds that strikingly similar climatic conditions existed in different continents, which presently bear no such similarities.

Joint meteorological research projects thus use developments in geology, oceanography and paleontology and maybe other fields. Just how the process of continental drifting started from that supercontinent Pangea is still not clear.

Integration Meteorology and Plate Tectonics

Canada's Beautiful Mt. Rundle

Some people believe they tend to move northward. For instance, India was not part of Asia until the large landmass jammed into Eurasian mainland only about 70 million years ago, and the result was the highest mountains on earth: Mt. Everest and the Great Himalayas.

So why this interdisciplinary mixup?

Integration meteorology and plate tectonics exists because all of the continents, over millions of years, have gone through different climate regimes. These range from tropic and sub-tropic climates, like you would see near the equator, to temperate and Arctic climates, and from mountain tops to ocean bottoms. All on the same land area at different times.

The two sciences help each other answer questions from time to time. Go back from Integration Meteorology and Plate Tectonics to the Solution Global Warming web page or visit the Stuff in the Air homepage.

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