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Tropical mountains and coal formation: A climate model study of the Westphalian (306 MA)

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Abstract

A global climate model has been used to study the seasonal sensitivity of tropical rainfall and soil moisture to the presence of Himalayan-scale mountains at tropical latitudes during the Westphalian. These mountains act to retard the northward progression of the Intertropical Convergence Zone in their vicinity during the Northern Hemisphere summer such that there is converging low-level flow from both the eastern and western Panthalassa Ocean and an eight-fold enhancement of precipitation over the mountains. The computed annual cycle of soil moisture for these tropical regions concurs with geologic evidence of extensive coal deposits formed in a broad area at tropical latitudes and only small seasonality in either temperature or precipitation in these areas.

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