Wind directions for Middle Pennsylvanian through Jurassic time are predicted from global circulation models for the western United States. These predictions are compared with paleowind directions interpreted from eolian sandstones of Middle Pennsylvanian through Jurassic age. Predicted regional wind directions correspond with at least three-quarters of the paleowind data from the sandstones; the rest of the data may indicate problems with correlation, local effects of paleogeography on winds, and lack of resolution of the circulation models. The data and predictions suggest the following paleoclimatic developments through the time interval studied: predominance of winter subtropical high-pressure circulation in the Late Pennsylvanian; predominance of summer subtropical high-pressure circulation in the Permian; predominance of summer monsoonal circulation in the Triassic and earliest Jurassic; and, during the remainder of the Jurassic, influence of both summer subtropical and summer monsoonal circulation, with the boundary between the two systems over the western United States. This sequence of climatic changes is largely owing to paleogeographic changes, which influenced the buildup and breakdown of the monsoonal circulation, and possibly owing partly to a decrease in the global temperature gradient, which might have lessened the influence of the subtropical high-pressure circulation. The atypical humidity of Triassic time probably resulted from the monsoonal circulation created by the geography of Pangaea. This circulation is predicted to have been at a maximum in the Triassic and was likely to have been powerful enough to draw moisture along the equator from the ocean to the west. ?? 1988.
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Wind directions predicted from global circulation models and wind directions determined from eolian sandstones of the western United States-A comparison