Hydrology refers to the whole panoply of effects the water molecule has on climate and on the land surface during its journey there and back again between ocean and atmosphere. On its way, it is cycled through vapour, cloud water, snow, sea ice and glacier ice, as well as acting as a catalyst for silicate–carbonate weathering reactions governing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Because carbon dioxide affects the hydrologic cycle through temperature, climate is a pas des deux between carbon dioxide and water, with important guest appearances by surface ice cover.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Hoffman, P. F., Kaufman. A. J., Halverson, G. P. & Schrag, D. P. A Neoproterozoic snowball earth. Science 281, 1342–1346 (1998).
Hoffman, P. F. & Schrag, D. P. The snowball Earth hypothesis: testing the limits of global change. Terra Nova (in the press).
Held, I. M. & Soden, B. J. Water vapor feedback and global warming. Annu. Rev. Energ. Environ. 25, 441–475 (2000).
Pierrehumbert, R. T. in Mechanisms of Global Change at Millennial Time Scales (eds Clark, P. U., Webb, R. S. & Keigwin, L. D.) Geophys. Monogr. Ser. 112 (American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, 1999).
Dahl-Jehnsen, D. et al. Past temperatures directly from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Science 282, 268–271 (1998).
Lea, D. W., Pak, D. K. & Spero, H. J. Climate impact of late quaternary Pacific equatorial sea surface temperature variations. Science 289, 1719–1724 (2000).
Lear, C. H., Elderfield, H. & Wilson, P. A. Cenozoic deep-sea temperatures and global ice volumes from Mg/Ca in benthic foraminiferal calcite. Science 287, 269–272 (2000).
Huber, B. T. Tropical paradise at the Cretaceous poles? Science 282, 2199–2200 (1998)
Pearson, P. N. et al. Warm tropical sea surface temperatures in the Late Cretaceous and Eocene epochs. Nature 413, 481–487 (2001).
Trenberth, K. E. & Caron, J. M. Estimates of meridional atmosphere and ocean heat transports. J. Clim. 14, 3433–3443 (2001).
Manabe, S. & Broccoli, A. J. The influence of continental ice sheets on the climate of an ice age. J. Geophys. Res. 90(C2), 2167–2190 (1985).
Broccoli, A. J. Tropical cooling at the last glacial maximum: an atmosphere-mixed layer ocean model simulation. J. Clim. 13, 951–976 (2000).
Hall, N. M. J., Dong, B. & Valdes, P. J. Atmospheric equilibrium, instability and energy transport at the last glacial maximum. Clim. Dynam. 12, 497–511 (1996).
Sokolov, A. P. & Stone, P. H. A flexible climate model for use in integrated assessments. Clim. Dynam. 14, 291–303 (1998).
Jenkins, G. S. & Smith, S. R. GCM simulations of Snowball Earth conditions during the late Proterozoic. Geophys. Res. Lett. 26, 2263–2266 (1999).
Poulsen, C., Pierrehumbert, R. T. & Jacob, R. Impact of ocean dynamics on the simulation of the Neoproterozoic “Snowball Earth”. Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 1575–1578 (2001).
Barron, E. J., Fawcett, P. J., Peterson, W. H., Pollard, D. & Thompson, S. L. A simulation of mid-Cretaceous climate. Paleoceanography 10, 953–962 (1995).
Bush, A. B. & Philander, S. G. H. The late Cretaceous: simulation with a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. Paleoceanography 12, 495–516 (1997).
Huber, M. & Sloan, L. C. Heat transport, deep waters, and thermal gradients: coupled simulation of an Eocene Greenhouse Climate. Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 3481–3484 (2001).
Huber, M. & Sloan, L. C. Climatic responses to tropical sea surface temperature changes on a “greenhouse” Earth. Paleoceanography 15, 443–450 (2000).
Kirk-Davidoff, D. B., Schrag, D. P. & Anderson, J. G. On the feedback of stratospheric clouds on polar climate. Geophys. Res. Lett. (in press).
Hyde, W. T. ., Crowley, T. J., Baum, S. K. & Peltier, W. R. Neoproterozoic 'snowball Earth' simulations with a coupled climate-ice sheet model. Nature 405, 425–429 (2000).
Chandler, M. A. & Sohl, L. E. Climate forcings and the initiation of low-latitude ice sheets during the Neoproterozoic Varanger glacial interval. J. Geophys. Res. 105, 20737–20756 (2000).
Caldeira, K. & Kasting, J. F. Susceptibility of the early Earth to irreversible glaciation caused by carbon-dioxide clouds. Nature 359, 226–228 (1992).
Kasting, J. F., Pollack, J. B. & Ackerman, T. P. Response of Earth's atmosphere to increases in solar flux and implications for loss of water from Venus. Icarus 57, 335–355 (1984).
Pierrehumbert, R. T. & Erlick, C. On the scattering greenhouse effect of CO2 ice clouds. J. Atmos. Sci. 55, 1897–1903 (1998).
Briegleb, B. P. Delta-Eddington approximation for solar radiation in the NCAR Community Climate Model. J. Geophys. Res. 97, 7603–7612 (1992).
Warren, S. G., Brandt, R. E., Grenfell, T. C. & McKay, C. P. Snowball Earth: ice thickness on the tropical ocean. J. Geophys. Res. (in the press).
Hay, W. W., DeConto, R. M. & Wold, C. N. Climate: is the past the key to the future? Geol. Rundsch. 86(2), 471–491 (1997).
Sagan, C. & Mullen, G. Earth and Mars—evolution of atmospheres and surface temperatures. Science 177, 52–56 (1972).
Walker, J. C. G., Hays, P. B. & Kasting, J. F. A negative feedback mechanism for the long-term stabilization of Earth's surface-temperature. J. Geophys. Res. 86(Nc10), 9776–9782 (1981).
Berner, R. A. GEOCARB II: a revised model of atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic time. Am. J. Sci. 294, 56–91 (1994).
Berner, R. A. & Kothavala, Z. GEOCARB III: a revised model of atmospheric CO2 over phanerozoic time. Am. J. Sci. 301, 182–204 (2001).
Vogelezang, D. H. P. & Holtslag, A. A. M. Evaluation and model impacts of alternative boundary-layer height formulations. Bound. Layer Meteorol. 81, 245–269 (1996).
Kiehl, J. T. et al. The National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model: CCM3. J. Climate 11, 1131–1149 (1998).
Emanuel, K. A. Atmospheric Convection (Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 1994).
Christie-Blick, N., Sohl, L. E. & Kennedy, M. J. Considering a Neoproterozoic snowball Earth. Science 284, 1087 (1999).
McMechan, M. E. Vreeland diamictites-Neoproterozoic glaciogenic slope deposits, Rocky Mountains, northeast British Columbia. Can. Bull. Petrol. Geol. 48, 246–261 (2000).
McKay, C. P. Thickness of tropical ice and photosynthesis on a snowball Earth. Geophys. Res. Lett. 27, 2153–2156 (2000).
Lunine, J. I., Lorenz, R. D. & Hartmann, W. K. Some speculations on Titan's past, present and future. Planet Space Sci. 46, 1099–1107 (1998).
Forget, F. & Pierrehumbert, R. T. Warming early Mars with carbon dioxide clouds that scatter infrared radiation. Science 278, 1273–1276 (1997).
Kasting, J. F. Runaway and moist greenhouse atmospheres and the evolution of Earth and Venus. Icarus 74, 472–494 (1988).
I am indebted to K. Trenberth, M. Huber and C. Poulsen for providing data used in this review, and for much other valuable assistance. P. Hoffman and D. Schrag introduced me to the snowball Earth problem, and our discussions on this subject have continued over the years; insofar as I understand anything at all about the phenomenon, much credit is due to them. I also benefited from comments by R. Alley, T. Schneider and S. Warren. I had the further advantage of meetings and discussions carried out as part of my participation in the NOAA Panel on Abrupt Climate Change, for which the support of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is gratefully acknowledged.
About this article
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (2020)
Global and Planetary Change (2019)
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (2019)
Revisiting the surface-energy-flux perspective on the sensitivity of global precipitation to climate change
Climate Dynamics (2019)
Science China Earth Sciences (2019)