The result is that the physical attributes of land surface systems more closely reflect unspecified past rather than present conditions,
and that the present state of these systems cannot be easily matched with prevailing climate. In a uniformitarian context, this means that evaluations of system state under present conditions of climatic or environmental forcing cannot be used as a guide to estimate the spatial/temporal patterns or magnitude of past forcing. The logic of this approach is clearly demonstrated in landscapes where cosmogenic dating has been applied to exposed rock surfaces that have been subject to subaerial weathering over long time periods (e.g., Bierman and Caffee, 2001 and Portenga and Bierman, 2011). The dates obtained from this approach span a range of ages showing that, Selleckchem Dabrafenib across a single region, land surface weathering does not SNS-032 chemical structure take place at a uniform rate or affect all parts of the landscape equally. The result is a mosaic of landscape palimpsests (Bailey, 2007) in which some landscape elements reflect present-day forcing, whereas others are relict and reflect climatic controls of the past (Stroeven et al., 2002 and Knight and Harrison, 2013b). This shows both the spatial and temporal contingency of geomorphological sensitivity, and that uniformitarian principles
fail to account for the formation of landscape palimpsests, even in the same location and under the same conditions of forcing. Uniformitarianism also
cannot account for the feedbacks associated with system behaviour. For example, over time as ecosystems become established on a sloping land surface, soil thickness increases and hillslope angle decreases due to soil creep. This means that slope systems’ dynamical processes operate at slower rates over time as they converge towards quasi-equilibrium (Phillips, 2009). As a consequence, in this example, system sensitivity to forcing decreases P-type ATPase over time, which is a notion opposed to the steady state and steady rate of change argued through uniformitarianism. Human activity is a major driver of the dynamics of most contemporary Earth systems, and has pushed the behaviour of many such systems beyond the bounds of their natural variability, when based on examination of system dynamics over recent geological time (Rosenzweig et al., 2008 and Rockström et al., 2009). A useful measure of Earth system behaviour is that of sediment yield, which is the product of land surface processes. In many areas of the world, sediment yield has been dramatically increased (by several orders of magnitude above background geological rates) by a combination of human activities including deforestation, agriculture, urbanisation and catchment engineering (Hay, 1994, Wilkinson and McElroy, 2007 and Syvitski and Kettner, 2011).